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  • 101.
    Airey, John
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Understanding Disciplinary Differences in Content and Language Integrated Learning: A Disciplinary Literacy Approach.2013Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract

    In recent years there has been a noticeable trend in many countries towards teaching university courses in English. However, from a research perspective, difficulties in obtaining data have meant that relatively little is known about what happens to disciplinary teaching and learning when the medium of instruction changes in this way.

     

    In this presentation I have been asked to give a brief overview of the research background in the area of teaching and learning in English, and to present some of the results from my PhD and Post-doc. work. These results are divided into two types:

     

    • Research into student learning experiences when taught in English
    • Research into lecturer behaviour when changing teaching language to English

     

    A number of pedagogical issues will be raised and recommendations made.

     

    References

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2006). Language and the experience of learning university physics in Sweden. European Journal of Physics, 27(3), 553-560.

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2007). Disciplinary learning in a second language: A case study from university physics. In R. Wilkinson & V. Zegers (Eds.), Researching Content and Language Integration in Higher Education (pp. 161-171). Maastricht: Maastricht University Language Centre.

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Available from http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Airey, J. (2010). The ability of students to explain science concepts in two languages. Hermes - Journal of Language and Communication Studies, 45, 35-49.

    Airey, J. (2011). The Disciplinary Literacy Discussion Matrix: A Heuristic Tool for Initiating Collaboration in Higher Education. Across the disciplines, 8(3).

    Airey, J. (2011). Talking about Teaching in English. Swedish university lecturers' experiences of changing their teaching language. Ibérica, 22(Fall), 35-54.

    Thøgersen, J., & Airey, J. (2011). Lecturing undergraduate science in Danish and in English: A comparison of speaking rate and rhetorical style. English for Specific Purposes, 30(3), 209-221.

  • 102.
    Airey, John
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Stockholm University.
    Using variation and unpacking to help students decode disciplinary-specific semiotic resources2018In: 9ICOM - Complete book of abstracts, Odense, Denmark.: Syddansk Universitet, 2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this presentation I will describe a social semiotic approach (Halliday 1978; van Leeuwen 2005) to the multimodal teaching and learning of a discipline that takes variation theory (Marton & Booth 1997; Runesson 2005) as its theoretical framing. Following Airey and Linder (2017:95) I define social semiotics as “the study of the development and reproduction of specialized systems of meaning making in particular sections of society”

     

    Learning at university level involves coming to understand the ways in which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources can be coordinated to make appropriate disciplinary meanings (Airey & Linder 2009). Nowhere is this more true than in undergraduate physics where a particularly wide range of semiotic resources such as graphs, diagrams, mathematics and language are essential for meaning making.  In order to learn to make these disciplinary meanings, students need to discover the disciplinary affordances(Fredlund et al. 2012, 2014; Airey & Linder 2017) of the semiotic resources used in their discipline. 

     

    Fredlund et al. (2015) propose a three-stage process that lecturers can use to help their students:  

     

    1. Identify the disciplinary relevant aspects needed for a particular task. 

    2. Select semiotic resources that showcase these aspects. 

    3. Create structured variation within these semiotic resources to help students notice the disciplinary relevant aspects and their relationships to each other.

     

    However, many disciplinary specific semiotic resources have been rationalized to create a kind of disciplinary shorthand(Airey 2009). In such cases the disciplinary relevant aspects needed may no longer be present in resources used, but are rather implied. In such cases the resources will need to be unpacked for students (Fredlund et al. 2014).  Such unpacking increases the pedagogical affordance of semiotic resources but simultaneously decreases their disciplinary affordance. 

    References

    '

    Airey, J. (2006). Physics Students' Experiences of the Disciplinary Discourse Encountered in Lectures in English and Swedish.   Licentiate Thesis. Uppsala, Sweden: Department of Physics, Uppsala University., 

    Airey J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. ActaUniversitatis  Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala Retrieved 2009-04-27, from   http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Airey, J. (2014) representations in Undergraduate Physics. Docent lecture, ÅngströmLaboratory, 9th June 2014 From   http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-226598

    Airey, J. (2015). Social Semiotics in Higher Education: Examples from teaching and learning in undergraduate physics In: SACF   Singapore-Sweden Excellence Seminars, Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research in Higher   Education (STINT) , 2015 (pp. 103). urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266049. 

    Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2015) Social Semiotics in Physics Education: Leveraging critical constellations of disciplinary representations   ESERA 2015 From http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn%3Anbn%3Ase%3Auu%3Adiva-260209

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). "A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical   constellation of modes." Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

    Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2017) Social Semiotics in Physics Education : Multiple Representations in Physics Education   Springer 

    Airey, J., & Eriksson, U. (2014). A semiotic analysis of the disciplinary affordances of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in   astronomy. Paper presented at the The 5th International 360 conference: Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge,   Aarhus, Denmark. 

    Airey, J., Eriksson, U., Fredlund, T., and Linder, C. (2014). "The concept of disciplinary affordance”The5th International 360   conference: Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge. City: Aarhus University: Aarhus, Denmark, pp. 20.

    Eriksson, U. (2015) Reading the Sky: From Starspotsto Spotting Stars Uppsala:ActaUniversitatisUpsaliensis.

    Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (2014). Who needs 3D when the Universe is flat? Science Education, 98(3),   412-442. 

    Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (2014). Introducing the anatomy of disciplinary discernment: an example from   astronomy. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 2(3), 167‐182. 

    Fredlund2015 Using a Social Semiotic Perspective to Inform the Teaching and Learning of Physics. ActaUniversitatisUpsaliensis.

    Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students   sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

    Fredlund, T, Airey, J, & Linder, C. (2015a). Enhancing the possibilities for learning: Variation of disciplinary-relevant aspects in   physics representations. European Journal of Physics. 

    Fredlund, T. & Linder, C., & Airey, J. (2015b). Towards addressing transient learning challenges in undergraduate physics: an   example from electrostatics.European Journal of Physics. 36055002. 

    Fredlund, T. & Linder, C., & Airey, J. (2015c). A social semiotic approach to identifying critical aspects. International Journal for   Lesson and Learning Studies2015 4:3 , 302-316 

    Fredlund, T., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Linder, A. (2014). Unpacking physics representations: Towards an appreciation of disciplinary   affordance. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 10(020128).

    Gibson, J. J. (1979). The theory of affordances The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception(pp. 127-143). Boston: Houghton   Miffin.

    Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as a social semiotic. London: Arnold.

    Linder, C. (2013). Disciplinary discourse, representation, and appresentationin the teaching and learning of science. European  Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 43-49.

    Marton, F., & Booth, S. (1997). Learning and awareness. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Norman, D. A. (1988). The psychology of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

    Mavers, D. Glossary of multimodal terms  Retrieved 6 May, 2014, from http://multimodalityglossary.wordpress.com/affordance/

    van Leeuwen, T. (2005). Introducing social semiotics. London: Routledge. 

    Volkwyn, T., Airey, J., Gregorčič, B., & Heijkenskjöld, F. (in press). Learning Science through Transduction: Multimodal disciplinary   meaning-making in the physics laboratory. Designs for Learning.

    Volkwyn, T., Airey, J., Gregorčič, B., & Heijkenskjöld, F. (2016). Multimodal transduction in secondary school physics 8th International Conference on Multimodality, 7th-9th December 2016. Cape Town, South Africa. Retrieved from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-316982.

    Wu, H-K, & Puntambekar, S. (2012). Pedagogical Affordances of Multiple External Representations in Scientific Processes. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21(6), 754-767.

  • 103.
    Airey, John
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Using variation and unpacking to help students decode disciplinary-specific semiotic resources2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this presentation I will describe a social semiotic approach (Halliday 1978; van Leeuwen 2005) to the multimodal teaching and learning of a discipline that takes variation theory (Marton & Booth 1997; Runesson 2005) as its theoretical framing. Following Airey and Linder (2017:95) I define social semiotics as “the study of the development and reproduction of specialized systems of meaning making in particular sections of society”

    Learning at university level involves coming to understand the ways in which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources can be coordinated to make appropriate disciplinary meanings (Airey & Linder 2009). Nowhere is this more true than in undergraduate physics where a particularly wide range of semiotic resources such as graphs, diagrams, mathematics and language are essential for meaning making.  In order to learn to make these disciplinary meanings, students need to discover the disciplinary affordances(Fredlund et al. 2012, 2014; Airey & Linder 2017) of the semiotic resources used in their discipline. 

    Fredlund et al. (2015) propose a three-stage process that lecturers can use to help their students:  

    1. Identify the disciplinary relevant aspects needed for a particular task. 

    2. Select semiotic resources that showcase these aspects. 

    3. Create structured variation within these semiotic resources to help students notice the disciplinary relevant aspects and their relationships to each other.

    However, many disciplinary specific semiotic resources have been rationalized to create a kind of disciplinary shorthand(Airey 2009). In such cases the disciplinary relevant aspects needed may no longer be present in resources used, but are rather implied. In such cases the resources will need to be unpacked for students (Fredlund et al. 2014).  Such unpacking increases the pedagogical affordance of semiotic resources but simultaneously decreases their disciplinary affordance. 

  • 104.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. Uppsala University.
    Berge, Maria
    Umeå University.
    Music and physics don’t mix!: What the humorous misuse of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources can tell us about disciplinary boundaries.2014In: The 5th International 360 Conference. Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge, May 8-10 2014, Aarhus University, Denmark, Aarhus: Aarhus University , 2014, p. 21-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Becoming part of an academic discipline has been described both in terms of becoming fluent in a disciplinary discourse (Airey 2009; Airey & Linder 2009; Northedge 2002) and achieving disciplinary literacy (Airey 2011, 2013; Geisler 1994). In this paper we investigate disciplinary boundaries by documenting the responses of academics to a semiotic disciplinary hybrid. The hybrid we use is the Physikalisches Lied, a bogus piece of sheet music into which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources from the realm of physics have been incorporated to humorous effect.

    The piece is presented to three distinct disciplinary focus groups: physicists, musicians and a group of academics who have had little contact with either discipline. In order to elicit disciplinary responses that are free from researcher prompts, each focus group is first asked the simple, open-ended question What do you see here? Once discussion of this question is exhausted the focus groups are asked to identify as many puns as they can—essentially all the disciplinary items that they feel have been misappropriated—and to attempt to explain what this means from a disciplinary standpoint. The differences in the responses of the three groups are presented and analysed.

    We argue that the semiotic resources focused on by each of the three groups and the nature of the explanation offered provide evidence of the degree of integration into the disciplines of physics and music. Our findings shed light on the process of becoming a disciplinary insider and the semiotic work involved in this process.

  • 105.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Berge, Maria
    Umeå University.
    Music and physics don’t mix!: What the humorous misuse of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources can tell us about disciplinary boundaries.2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Becoming part of an academic discipline has been described both in terms of becoming fluent in a disciplinary discourse (Airey 2009; Airey & Linder 2009; Northedge 2002) and achieving disciplinary literacy (Airey 2011, 2013; Geisler 1994). In this paper we investigate disciplinary boundaries by documenting the responses of academics to a semiotic disciplinary hybrid. The hybrid we use is the Physikalisches Lied, a bogus piece of sheet music into which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources from the realm of physics have been incorporated to humorous effect.

     

    The piece is presented to three distinct disciplinary focus groups: physicists, musicians and a group of academics who have had little contact with either discipline. In order to elicit disciplinary responses that are free from researcher prompts, each focus group is first asked the simple, open-ended question What do you see here? Once discussion of this question is exhausted the focus groups are asked to identify as many puns as they can—essentially all the disciplinary items that they feel have been misappropriated—and to attempt to explain what this means from a disciplinary standpoint. The differences in the responses of the three groups are presented and analysed.

     

    We argue that the semiotic resources focused on by each of the three groups and the nature of the explanation offered provide evidence of the degree of integration into the disciplines of physics and music. Our findings shed light on the process of becoming a disciplinary insider and the semiotic work involved in this process.

    References

    Airey, J. (2013). Disciplinary Literacy. In E. Lundqvist, L. Östman & R. Säljö (Eds.), Scientific literacy – teori och praktik (pp. 41-58): Gleerups.

    Airey, J. (2011). The Disciplinary Literacy Discussion Matrix: A Heuristic Tool for Initiating Collaboration in Higher Education. Across the disciplines, 8(3).

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical constellation of modes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

    Geisler, C. (1994). Academic literacy and the nature of expertise: Reading, writing, and knowing in academic philosophy. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Northedge, A. (2002). Organizing excursions into specialist discourse communities: A sociocultural account of university teaching. In G. Wells & G. Claxton (Eds.), Learning for life in the 21st century. Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education (pp. 252-264). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

  • 106.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University.
    Berge, Maria
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Music and physics don't mix!: What the humorous misuse of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources can tell us about disciplinary boundaries2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Becoming part of an academic discipline has been described both in terms of becoming fluent in a disciplinary discourse (Airey 2009; Airey & Linder 2009; Northedge 2002) and achieving disciplinary literacy (Airey 2011, 2013; Geisler 1994). In this paper we investigate disciplinary boundaries by documenting the responses of academics to a semiotic disciplinary hybrid. The hybrid we use is the Physikalisches Lied, a bogus piece of sheet music into which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources from the realm of physics have been incorporated to humorous effect.

    The piece is presented to three distinct disciplinary focus groups: physicists, musicians and a group of academics who have had little contact with either discipline. In order to elicit disciplinary responses that are free from researcher prompts, each focus group is first asked the simple, open-ended question What do you see here? Once discussion of this question is exhausted the focus groups are asked to identify as many puns as they can - essentially all the disciplinary items that they feel have been misappropriated - and to attempt to explain what this means from a disciplinary standpoint. The differences in the responses of the three groups are presented and analysed.

    We argue that the semiotic resources focused on by each of the three groups and the nature of the explanation offered provide evidence of the degree of integration into the disciplines of physics and music. Our findings shed light on the process of becoming a disciplinary insider and the semiotic work involved in this process.

  • 107.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University.
    Berge, Maria
    Umeå University.
    That's Funny! The humorous effect of misappropriating disciplinary-specific semiotic resources2014In: The first Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, Lund, Sweden, 25-27 Sept 2014, 2014, p. 50-51Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The socialization of disciplinary outsiders into an academic discipline has been described both in terms of becoming fluent in a disciplinary discourse (Airey, 2009; Airey & Linder, 2009; Northedge, 2002) and achieving disciplinary literacy (Airey, 2011, 2013; Geisler, 1994). In this paper we investigate disciplinary boundaries by documenting the responses of academics to a semiotic disciplinary hybrid. The hybrid we use is the Physikalisches Lied, a bogus piece of sheet music into which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources from the realm of physics have been incorporated to humorous effect.

    The piece is presented to three distinct disciplinary focus groups: physicists, musicians and a group of academics who have had little contact with either discipline. In order to elicit disciplinary responses that are free from researcher prompts, each focus group is first asked the simple, open-ended question What do you see here? Once discussion of this question is exhausted the focus groups are asked to identify as many puns as they can—essentially all the disciplinary items that they feel have been misappropriated—and to attempt to explain what this means from a disciplinary standpoint. The differences in the responses of the three groups are presented and analysed.

    We argue that semiotic material focused on by each of the three groups and the nature of the explanation offered, provide evidence of the degree of integration into the disciplines of physics and music. Our findings shed light on the process of becoming a disciplinary insider and the semiotic work involved in this process.

  • 108.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Linneuniversitet.
    Berge, Maria
    Umeå.
    That's Funny!: The humorous effect of misappropriating  disciplinary-specific semiotic resources2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The socialization of disciplinary outsiders into an academic discipline has been described both in terms of becoming fluent in a disciplinary discourse (Airey, 2009; Airey & Linder, 2009; Northedge, 2002) and achieving disciplinary literacy (Airey, 2011, 2013; Geisler, 1994). In this paper we investigate disciplinary boundaries by documenting the responses of academics to a semiotic disciplinary hybrid. The hybrid we use is the Physikalisches Lied, a bogus piece of sheet music into which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources from the realm of physics have been incorporated to humorous effect.

    The piece is presented to three distinct disciplinary focus groups: physicists, musicians and a group of academics who have had little contact with either discipline. In order to elicit disciplinary responses that are free from researcher prompts, each focus group is first asked the simple, open-ended question What do you see here? Once discussion of this question is exhausted the focus groups are asked to identify as many puns as they can—essentially all the disciplinary items that they feel have been misappropriated—and to attempt to explain what this means from a disciplinary standpoint. The differences in the responses of the three groups are presented and analysed.

    We argue that semiotic material focused on by each of the three groups and the nature of the explanation offered, provide evidence of the degree of integration into the disciplines of physics and music. Our findings shed light on the process of becoming a disciplinary insider and the semiotic work involved in this process.

  • 109.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala Universitet.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Kristianstad University, Research environment Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    A semiotic analysis of the disciplinary affordances of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in astronomy2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the central characteristics of disciplines is that they create their own particular ways of knowing the world. This process is facilitated by the specialization and refinement of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the sciences, where it is the norm that disciplinary-specific representations have been introduced and then refined by a number of different actors. As a consequence, many of the semiotic resources used in the sciences today still retain some traces of their historical roots.

    In this paper we analyse one such disciplinary-specific semiotic resource from the field of Astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. We audit the potential of this semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge—what Fredlund et al (2012) have termed its disciplinary affordances. Our analysis includes consideration of the use of scales, labels, symbols, sizes and colour. We show how, for historical reasons, the use of these aspects in the resource may differ from what might be expected by a newcomer to the discipline.

    We suggest that some of the issues we highlight in our analysis may, in fact, be contributors to alternative conceptions and therefore propose that lecturers pay particular attention to the disambiguation of these features for their students.

  • 110.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Stockholm Universitet.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Research environment Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA). Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för matematik- och naturvetenskapernas didaktik. Nationellt resurscentrum för fysik, Lunds universitet.
    Unpacking the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: a social semiotic analysis of the disciplinary and pedagogical affordances of a central resource in astronomy2019In: Designs for Learning, ISSN 1654-7608, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 99-107Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper we are interested in the relationship between disciplinary knowledge and its representation. We carry out a social semiotic analysis of a central tool used in astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram—in order to highlight its disciplinary and pedagogical affordances. By analysing the relationship between disciplinary knowledge and its representation in this way we claim that it becomes possible to identify potential barriers to student learning—instances where semiotic resources with high disciplinary affordance have low pedagogical affordance for newcomers to the discipline. The astronomy resource that we have chosen to analyse has played a pivotal role in our understanding of stellar evolution and as such it features prominently on all undergraduate astronomy programs. However, like most disciplinary-specific semiotic resources, today’s H-R diagram is the culmination of many years of work by numerous disciplinary experts. Over time, the H-R diagram has been revised and reworked by a number of different actors in order to reconcile it with developing observational and theoretical advances. As a consequence, the H-R diagram that we know today combines many layers of astronomical knowledge, whilst still retaining some rather quirky traces of its historical roots. In this paper we adopt a social semiotic lens to analyse these ‘layers of knowledge’ and ‘historical anomalies’ showing how they have resulted in a number of counterintuitive aspects within the diagram that have successively lowered its pedagogical affordance. We claim that the counterintuitive aspects we identify in our analysis give rise to potential barriers to student disciplinary learning. Using our analysis as a case study, we generalise our findings suggesting four types of barrier to understanding that are potentially at work when meeting disciplinary-specific semiotic resources for the first time. We finish the paper by making some general suggestions about the wider use of our analysis method and ways of dealing with any barriers to learning identified. In the specific case of the H-R diagram, we suggest that lecturers should explicitly tease out its disciplinary affordances by the use of ‘unpacked’ resources that have a higher pedagogical affordance. 

  • 111.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Kristianstad University, Research environment Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    What do you see here?: using an analysis of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in astronomy to create a survey of disciplinary discernment2014In: Book of abstracts: The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics(IACS-2014), September 25-27, 2014 Lund University, 2014, p. 52-53Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Becoming part of a discipline involves learning to interpret and use a range of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources (Airey, 2009). These resources have been developed and assigned particular specialist meanings over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the sciences, where it is the norm that disciplinary-specific representations have been introduced and then refined by a number of different actors in order to reconcile them with subsequent empirical and theoretical advances. As a consequence, many of the semiotic resources used in the sciences today still retain some (potentially confusing) traces of their historical roots. However, it has been repeatedly shown that university lecturers underestimate the challenges such disciplinary specific semiotic resources may present to undergraduates (Northedge, 2002; Tobias, 1986).

    In this paper we analyse one such disciplinary-specific semiotic resource from the field of Astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. First, we audit the potential of this semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge—what Fredlund et al (2012) have termed its disciplinary affordances. Our analysis includes consideration of the use of scales, labels, symbols, sizes and colour. We show how, for historical reasons, the use of these aspects in the resource may differ from what might be expected by a newcomer to the discipline. Using the results of our analysis we then created an online questionnaire to probe what is discerned (Eriksson, Linder, Airey, & Redfors, in press) with respect to each of these aspects by astronomers and physicists ranging from first year undergraduates to university professors.

    Our findings suggest that some of the issues we highlight in our analysis may, in fact, be contributors to the alternative conceptions of undergraduate students and we therefore propose that lecturers pay particular attention to the disambiguation of these features for their students.

  • 112.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Kristianstad University, Research environment Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala universitet.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala universitet.
    On the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources2014In: Book of abstracts: The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics(IACS-2014), September 25-27, 2014 Lund University, 2014, p. 54-55Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the late 70’s Gibson (1979) introduced the concept of affordance. Initially framed around the needs of an organism in its environment, over the years the term has been appropriated and debated at length by a number of researchers in various fields. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when they are perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al. (2001) have claimed that different modes have different specialized affordances. Then, building on this idea, Airey and Linder (2009) suggested that there is a critical constellation of modes that students need to achieve fluency in before they can experience a concept in an appropriate disciplinary manner. Later, Airey (2009) nuanced this claim, shifting the focus from the modes themselves to a critical constellation of semiotic resources, thus acknowledging that different semiotic resources within a mode often have different affordances (e.g. two or more diagrams may form the critical constellation).

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical tool for use in education. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the discernment of one individual, it refers to the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by those functions that the resource is expected to fulfil by the disciplinary community. Disciplinary affordances have thus been negotiated and developed within the discipline over time. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or discerned becomes moot. Rather, from an educational perspective the issue is whether the meaning that a semiotic resource affords to an individual matches the disciplinary affordance assigned by the community. The power of the term for educational work is that learning can now be framed as coming to discern the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

    In this paper we will briefly discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

  • 113.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    On the Disciplinary Affordances of Semiotic Resources2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the late 70’s Gibson (1979) introduced the concept of affordance. Initially framed around the needs of an organism in its environment, over the years the term has been appropriated and debated at length by a number of researchers in various fields. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when they are perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al. (2001) have claimed that different modes have different specialized affordances. Then, building on this idea, Airey and Linder (2009) suggested that there is a critical constellation of modes that students need to achieve fluency in before they can experience a concept in an appropriate disciplinary manner. Later, Airey (2009) nuanced this claim, shifting the focus from the modes themselves to a critical constellation of semiotic resources, thus acknowledging that different semiotic resources within a mode often have different affordances (e.g. two or more diagrams may form the critical constellation).

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical tool for use in education. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the discernment of one individual, it refers to the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by those functions that the resource is expected to fulfil by the disciplinary community. Disciplinary affordances have thus been negotiated and developed within the discipline over time. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or discerned becomes moot. Rather, from an educational perspective the issue is whether the meaning that a semiotic resource affords to an individual matches the disciplinary affordance assigned by the community. The power of the term for educational work is that learning can now be framed as coming to discern the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

    In this paper we will briefly discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

  • 114.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Uppsala University.
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala University.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University.
    On the Disciplinary Affordances of Semiotic Resources2014In: Book of Abstracts: The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS-2014), September 25-27, 2014, 2014, p. 54-55Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the late 70’s Gibson (1979) introduced the concept of affordance. Initially framed around the needs of an organism in its environment, over the years the term has been appropriated and debated at length by a number of researchers in various fields. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when they are perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al. (2001) have claimed that different modes have different specialized affordances. Then, building on this idea, Airey and Linder (2009) suggested that there is a critical constellation of modes that students need to achieve fluency in before they can experience a concept in an appropriate disciplinary manner. Later, Airey (2009) nuanced this claim, shifting the focus from the modes themselves to a critical constellation of semiotic resources, thus acknowledging that different semiotic resources within a mode often have different affordances (e.g. two or more diagrams may form the critical constellation).

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical tool for use in education. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the discernment of one individual, it refers to the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by those functions that the resource is expected to fulfil by the disciplinary community. Disciplinary affordances have thus been negotiated and developed within the discipline over time. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or discerned becomes moot. Rather, from an educational perspective the issue is whether the meaning that a semiotic resource affords to an individual matches the disciplinary affordance assigned by the community. The power of the term for educational work is that learning can now be framed as coming to discern the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

    In this paper we will briefly discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

  • 115.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    On the Disciplinary Affordances of Semiotic Resources2014In: IACS-2014 Book of abstracts, 2014, p. 54-55Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the late 70’s Gibson (1979) introduced the concept of affordance. Initially framed around the needs of an organism in its environment, over the years the term has been appropriated and debated at length by a number of researchers in various fields. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when they are perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al. (2001) have claimed that different modes have different specialized affordances. Then, building on this idea, Airey and Linder (2009) suggested that there is a critical constellation of modes that students need to achieve fluency in before they can experience a concept in an appropriate disciplinary manner. Later, Airey (2009) nuanced this claim, shifting the focus from the modes themselves to a critical constellation of semiotic resources, thus acknowledging that different semiotic resources within a mode often have different affordances (e.g. two or more diagrams may form the critical constellation).

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical tool for use in education. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the discernment of one individual, it refers to the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by those functions that the resource is expected to fulfil by the disciplinary community. Disciplinary affordances have thus been negotiated and developed within the discipline over time. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or discerned becomes moot. Rather, from an educational perspective the issue is whether the meaning that a semiotic resource affords to an individual matches the disciplinary affordance assigned by the community. The power of the term for educational work is that learning can now be framed as coming to discern the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

    In this paper we will briefly discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

  • 116.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Uppsala University.
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala University.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University.
    The Concept of Disciplinary Affordance2014In: The 5th International 360 Conference. Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge, May 8-10 2014, Aarhus University, Denmark, 2014, p. 20-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since its introduction by Gibson (1979) the concept of affordance has been discussed at length by a number of researchers. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al (2001) claim that different modes have different specialized affordances.

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical educational tool. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the perception of an individual, it focuses on the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by the functions that it is expected to fulfil for the discipline. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or perceived becomes moot. Rather, the issue is what a semiotic resource affords to an individual and whether this matches the disciplinary affordance. The power of the term is that learning can now be framed as coming to perceive the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

    In this paper we will discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

  • 117.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala Universitet.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Kristianstad University, Research environment Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala universitet.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala universitet.
    The concept of disciplinary affordance2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since its introduction by Gibson (1979) the concept of affordance has been discussed at length by a number of researchers. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al (2001) claim that different modes have different specialized affordances.

     

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical educational tool. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the perception of an individual, it refers to the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by the functions that it is expected to fulfil for the discipline. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or perceived becomes moot. Rather, the issue is whether what a semiotic resource affords to an individual matches the disciplinary affordance. The power of the term is that learning can now be framed as coming to perceive the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

     

    In this paper we will briefly discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings

  • 118.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    The Concept of Disciplinary Affordance2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since its introduction by Gibson (1979) the concept of affordance has been discussed at length by a number of researchers. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al (2001) claim that different modes have different specialized affordances.

     

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical educational tool. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the perception of an individual, it focuses on the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by the functions that it is expected to fulfil for the discipline. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or perceived becomes moot. Rather, the issue is what a semiotic resource affords to an individual and whether this matches the disciplinary affordance. The power of the term is that learning can now be framed as coming to perceive the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

     

    In this paper we will discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

     

    References

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

    Gibson, J. J. (1979). The theory of affordances The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (pp. 127-143). Boston: Houghton Miffin.

    Kress, G., Jewitt, C., Ogborn, J., & Tsatsarelis, C. (2001). Multimodal teaching and learning: The rhetorics of the science classroom. London: Continuum.

    Linder, C. (2013). Disciplinary discourse, representation, and appresentation in the teaching and learning of science. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 43-49.

    Norman, D. A. (1988). The psychology of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

     

     

  • 119.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    The Concept of Disciplinary Affordance2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since its introduction by Gibson (1979) the concept of affordance has been discussed at length by a number of researchers. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al (2001) claim that different modes have different specialized affordances.

     

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical educational tool. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the perception of an individual, it focuses on the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by the functions that it is expected to fulfil for the discipline. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or perceived becomes moot. Rather, the issue is what a semiotic resource affords to an individual and whether this matches the disciplinary affordance. The power of the term is that learning can now be framed as coming to perceive the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

     

    In this paper we will discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

     

    References

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

    Gibson, J. J. (1979). The theory of affordances The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (pp. 127-143). Boston: Houghton Miffin.

    Kress, G., Jewitt, C., Ogborn, J., & Tsatsarelis, C. (2001). Multimodal teaching and learning: The rhetorics of the science classroom. London: Continuum.

    Linder, C. (2013). Disciplinary discourse, representation, and appresentation in the teaching and learning of science. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 43-49.

    Norman, D. A. (1988). The psychology of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

     

     

  • 120.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University Sweden.
    Grundström Lindqvist, Josefine
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Kung, Rebecca
    Independent Researcher.
    What does it mean to understand a physics equation?: A study of undergraduate answers In three countries2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    What does it mean to understand a physics Equation?   A study of Undergraduate answers In Three countries.

    John Airey1,2 Josefine Grundström Lindqvist1 Rebecca Kung3

    1Department of Physics, Uppsala University, Sweden

    2Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University, Sweden

    3Independent researcher, Grosse Ile, MI, USA.        

                                                    

    In this paper we are interested in how undergraduate students in the US, Australia and Sweden experience the physics equations they meet in their education. We asked over 350 students the same simple question: How do you know when you understand a physics equation? Students wrote free-text answers to this question and these were transcribed and coded. The analysis resulted in eight themes (significance, origin, describe, predict, parts, relationships, calculate and explain). Each of these themes represents a different disciplinary aspect of student understanding of physics equations. We argue that together the different aspects we find represent a more holistic view of physics equations that we would like all our students to experience. Based on this work we wondered how best to highlight this more holistic view of equations. This prompted us to write a set of questions that reflect the original data with respect to the eight themes. We suggest that when students are working with problem solving they may ask themselves these questions in order to check their holistic understanding of what the physics equations they are using represent. In continuing work we are asking the same question to a cohort of physics lecturers. We are also trialling the themes and related questions that we generated in teaching situations. Here we are interested in whether students perceive the questions as helpful in their learning.

    Keywords: International Studies in Education, Physics, Higher Education

    Background

    As a discipline, physics is concerned with describing the world by constructing models, the end product of this modelling process often being an equation. Despite their importance in the representation of physics knowledge, physics equations have received surprisingly little attention in the literature. The work that has been done has tended to focus on the use of equations in problem solving (see Hsu, Brewe, Foster, & Harper, 2004 for an overview and Hegde & Meera, 2012 for a more recent example). One significant study is that of Sherin (2001) who examined students ability to construct equations. The majority of work suggests that many students in calculus-based physics courses focus their attention exclusively on selecting an equation and substituting in known values—so called “plug and chug” (see Tuminaro 2004). This behaviour—what Redish (1994) has termed the “Dead Leaves” approach to physics equations—has been framed as a major hurdle to students’ ability to see the bigger picture of physics. However, very little work has examined what students think it means to understand a physics equation, the only work we could locate was that of Domert et al, 2007 and Hechter, 2010. Building on these two sources this study examines student understanding of physics equations in three countries. Our research questions are:

    1. How do students in three countries say they know that they have understood a physics equation?
    2. What different disciplinary aspects of equations can be seen in an analysis of the complete set of answers to research question 1?
    3. How might a more holistic view of the understanding of equations be communicated to students?

    Method

    This qualitative study uses a research design based on minimum input and maximised output. We asked students in the US (n=83), Australia (n=168) and Sweden (n=105) the same simple question:

    How do you know when you understand a physics equation?

    Students wrote free-text answers to this question and these were transcribed and coded. Using qualitative analysis techniques drawn from the phenomenographic tradition, the whole dataset was then treated as a “pool of meaning” (See Airey, 2012 for an example of this type of analysis).

    Analysis and Results

    In our analysis we initially looked for differences across countries, however it quickly became apparent that there was a range of answers that repeated across countries. This led us to treat the data as a single set. This first analysis resulted in 15 preliminary categories. These categories were later broken up and reconstructed to form eight themes: Significance, Origin, Describe, Predict, Parts, Relationships, Calculate and Explain. We suggest that each of these eight themes represents a different disciplinary aspect of the expressed student understanding of physics equations. We argue that together the different aspects we find represent a more holistic view of physics equations that we would like all our students to experience. Based on this work we wondered how best to highlight this more holistic view of equations. This prompted us to write a set of questions that reflect the original data with respect to the eight themes:

    1      Significance: Why, when, where

    Do you know why the equation is needed?

    Do you know where the equation can and cannot be used? (boundary conditions/areas of physics).

    Do you understand what the equation means for its area of physics?

    What status does this equation have in physics? (fundamental law, empirical approximation, mathematical conversion, etc.).

    2      Origin

    Do you know the historical roots of the equation?

    Can you derive the equation?

    3      Describe/visualize

    Can you use the equation to describe a real-life situation?

    Can you describe an experiment that the equation models?

    Can you visualize the equation by drawing diagrams, graphs etc.

    4      Predict

    Can you use the equation to predict?

    5      Parts

    Can you describe the physical meaning of each of the components of the equation?

    How does a change in one component affect other components in the equation?

    Can you manipulate/rearrange the equation?

    6      Other equations

    Can you relate this equation to other equations you know?

    Can you construct the equation from other equations that you know?

    7      Calculate

    Can you use the equation to solve a physics problem?

    Can you use the equation to solve a physics problem in a different context than the one in which it was presented?

    When you use the equation to calculate an answer do you know:

    • How your answer relates to the original variables?
    • The physical meaning of this answer?
    • Whether your answer is reasonable?

    8      Explain

    Can you explain the equation to someone else?

    Discussion and conclusion

    The motivation for this study came from an experience the first author had a number of years ago. In an interview situation, students were asked in passing about whether they understood a certain equation. They replied “yes” and that the equation was “trivial”. However when questioned about what one of the terms in the equation meant and the students did not know! The students clearly meant that the equation was trivial from a mathematical point of view—they knew they could easily use the equation to “calculate stuff” so they said that they understood it. In Redish’s (1994) terms they were using the “Dead Leaves” approach to physics equations.

    We believe the questions we have generated in this study have the potential to help physics students who think they understand a physics equation to check whether there might be other aspects that they may not yet have considered.

    Our questions are based on student-generated data. Potentially physics lecturers could experience physics equations in even more complex ways. In continuing work we are therefore asking the same question to a cohort of physics lecturers. We are also trialling the themes and related questions that we generated in various teaching situations. Here we are interested in whether students perceive the questions as helpful in their learning.

    Acknowledgements

    Support from the Swedish Research Council, VR project no. 2016-04113, is gratefully acknowledged.

    REFERENCES

    Airey, J. (2012). “I don’t teach language.” The linguistic attitudes of physics lecturers in Sweden. AILA Review, 25(2012), 64–79.

    Domert, D., Airey, J., Linder, C., & Kung, R. (2007). An exploration of university physics students' epistemological mindsets towards the understanding of physics equations. NorDiNa,Nordic Studies in Science Education(3), 15-28.

    Hechter, R. P. (2010). What does it understand the equation' really mean? Physics Education, 45(132).

    Hegde, B. & Meera, B. N. (2012). How do they solve it? An insight into the learner's approach to the mechanism of physics problem solving. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8, 010109

    Hsu, L., Brewe, E., Foster, T. M., & Harper, K. A. (2004). Resource Letter RPS-1: Research in problem solving. American Journal of Physics, 72(9), 1147-1156.

    Redish, E. (1994). The implications of cognitive studies for teaching physics. American Journal of Physics, 62(6), 796-803.

    Sherin, B. L. (2001). How students understand physics equations. Cognitive Instruction, 19, 479-541.

    Tuminaro, J. (2004). A Cognitive framework for analyzing and describing introductory students' use of mathematics in physics. PhD Thesis. University of Maryland, Physics Department.

     

  • 121.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Grundström Lindqvist, Josefine
    Kung, Rebecca
    What does it mean to understand a physics equation?: A study of undergraduate answers in three countries2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper we are interested in how undergraduate students in the US, Australia and Sweden experience the physics equations they meet in their education. We asked over 350 students the same simple question: How do you know when you understand a physics equation? Students wrote free-text answers to this question and these were transcribed and coded. The analysis resulted in eight themes (significance, origin, describe, predict, parts, relationships, calculate and explain). Each of these themes represents a different disciplinary aspect of student understanding of physics equations. We argue that together the different aspects we find represent a more holistic view of physics equations that we would like all our students to experience. Based on this work we wondered how best to highlight this more holistic view of equations. This prompted us to write a set of questions that reflect the original data with respect to the eight themes. We suggest that when students are working with problem solving they may ask themselves these questions in order to check their holistic understanding of what the physics equations they are using represent. In continuing work we are asking the same question to a cohort of physics lecturers. We are also trialling the themes and related questions that we generated in teaching situations. Here we are interested in whether students perceive the questions as helpful in their learning.

  • 122.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
    Jons, Lotta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
    Braskén, Mats
    What makes a good Physics Teacher? The shared vision of Finnish teacher educators2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper we present findings from an interview study with eleven educators from a Finnish physics teacher training programme. The educators represent the four environments where the education takes place: the Department of Physics, the Department of Mathematics and Science Education, the Department of General Pedagogy, and the Training School. The study is part of a larger Swedish Research Council project comparing the different disciplinary values that are communicated to future physics teachers across four countries (Sweden, England, Singapore and Finland).

    Interviews were coded in TRANSANA software, and analysed using Gee’s (2014, p. 95) theory of figured worlds which he describes as “taken-for-granted theories that are guided, shaped, and normed though social and cultural interactions”. In our study we apply Gee’s concept to descriptions of a ‘good’ physics teacher. Our analysis shows that the educators across the four training environments largely communicate the same figured world. Although working in different settings, the eleven educators appear to be working in concert, each contributing to a shared vision of what is needed to develop the professional physics teacher identities of their trainees.

    The figured world we identify characterizes a ‘good ‘physics teacher in terms of a range of competencies, such as: student centredness, inclusive teaching, pedagogical content knowledge, physics for society, assessment skills, relationships and leadership and teacher professionalism.

    Taken together, the four departments appear to cover all the expressed competencies of a ‘good’ physics teacher and there is mutual trust across the four environments. The training school was seen as the place where all of the desired competencies are brought together, applied and evaluated.

    These findings are in stark contrast to parallel findings for Sweden where four competing models of the goals of the educational programme were identified.

  • 123.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. Uppsala University.
    Larsson, Johanna
    Uppsala University.
    What Knowledge Do Trainee Physics Teachers Need to Learn?: Differences in the Views of Training Staff2014In: International Science Education Conference ISEC 2014, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 25-27 November, 2014, Singapore: Ministry of Education, National Institute of Education , 2014, p. 62-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Although the impact of disciplinary differences on teaching and learning has been extensively discussed in the literature (e.g. Becher 1989; Becher and Trowler 2001; Lindblom-Ylännea et al. 2006; Neumann 2001; Neumann and Becher 2002), little research has explored this issue in relation to teacher training. In particular, we know of no work that examines differing views about the knowledge that trainee teachers need to learn across different settings. In this paper we analyse differences in the expressed views of staff involved in the training of prospective physics teachers in three environments: the education department, the physics department and schools. We analyse these differences in terms of two constructs: disciplinary literacy goals (Airey 2011, 2013) and disciplinary knowledge structures (Bernstein 1999).

    In terms of disciplinary literacy we find a stronger emphasis on learning goals for the academy expressed by informants from the physics and education departments. This can be contrasted with the view that the needs of the workplace are paramount expressed by school practitioners.

    Then, using Bernstein’s knowledge structures, we also identify clear differences in views about the nature of knowledge itself with a more hierarchical view of knowledge prevalent in the physics department and the more horizontal view of knowledge prevalent in the education department.

    The study highlights the often-conflicting signals about what constitutes useful knowledge that prospective physics teachers need to negotiate during their training. We tentatively suggest that more attention should be paid to both the theory/practice divide and potential epistemological differences in the training of prospective teachers.

  • 124.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Larsson, Johanna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    What Knowledge Do Trainee Physics Teachers Need to Learn?: Differences in the Views of Training Staff2014In: International Science Education Conference 2014 Programme, Singapore: Ministry of Education, National Institute of Education , 2014, p. 62-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Although the impact of disciplinary differences on teaching and learning has been extensively discussed in the literature (e.g. Becher 1989; Becher and Trowler 2001; Lindblom-Ylännea et al. 2006; Neumann 2001; Neumann and Becher 2002), little research has explored this issue in relation to teacher training. In particular, we know of no work that examines differing views about the knowledge that trainee teachers need to learn across different settings. In this paper we analyse differences in the expressed views of staff involved in the training of prospective physics teachers in three environments: the education department, the physics department and schools. We analyse these differences in terms of two constructs: disciplinary literacy goals (Airey 2011, 2013) and disciplinary knowledge structures (Bernstein 1999).

    In terms of disciplinary literacy we find a stronger emphasis on learning goals for the academy expressed by informants from the physics and education departments. This can be contrasted with the view that the needs of the workplace are paramount expressed by school practitioners.

    Then, using Bernstein’s knowledge structures, we also identify clear differences in views about the nature of knowledge itself with a more hierarchical view of knowledge prevalent in the physics department and the more horizontal view of knowledge prevalent in the education department.

    The study highlights the often-conflicting signals about what constitutes useful knowledge that prospective physics teachers need to negotiate during their training. We tentatively suggest that more attention should be paid to both the theory/practice divide and potential epistemological differences in the training of prospective teachers.

  • 125.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University.
    Larsson, Johanna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Anne
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Investigating Undergraduate Physics Lecturers’ Disciplinary Literacy Goals For Their Students2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Investigating Undergraduate Physics Lecturers’ disciplinary literacy Goals for their students.

    Abstract

     In this presentation we use the concept of disciplinary literacy (Airey, 2011a; 2013) to analyse the expressed learning goals of university physics lecturers for their students. We define disciplinary literacy in terms of learning to control a particular set of multimodal communicative practices. We believe it is important to document the expressed intentions of lecturers in this way, since it has previously been suggested that the development of such disciplinary literacy may be seen as one of the primary goals of university studies (Airey, 2011a).

    The main data set used in this presentation comes from a comparative study of 30 physics lecturers from Sweden and South Africa. (Airey, 2012, 2013; Linder et al, 2014). Semi-structured interviews were carried out using a disciplinary literacy discussion matrix (Airey, 2011b), which enabled us to probe the lecturers’ disciplinary literacy goals in the various semiotic resource systems used in undergraduate physics (e.g. graphs, diagrams, mathematics, spoken and written languages, etc.).

    The findings suggest that physics lecturers in both countries have strikingly similar disciplinary literacy goals for their students and hold similar beliefs about disciplinary semiotic resources. The lecturers also agree that teaching disciplinary literacy ought not to be their job. Here though, there were differences in whether the lecturers teach students to handle disciplinary-specific semiotic resources. These differences appear to be based on individual decisions, rather than being specific to a particular country or institution.

    Keywords: Higher education, Scientific literacy, Representations.

    Introduction: disciplinary literacy

    In this presentation we examine the notion of disciplinary literacy in university physics (see Airey, 2011a, 2011b, 2013 and the extensive overview in Moje, 2007). Drawing on the work of Gee (1991), Airey (2001a) has broadened the definition of literacy to include semiotic resource systems other than language, defining disciplinary literacy as:

    The ability to appropriately participate in the communicative practices of a discipline.

    He goes on to suggest that the development of disciplinary literacy may be seen as one of the primary goals of university studies. In this study we use this disciplinary literacy concept to compare and problematize the goals of undergraduate physics lecturers in Sweden and South Africa.

    Research questions

    Our research questions for this study are:

    1. What do physics lecturers at universities in Sweden and South Africa say about disciplinary literacy in terms of the range of semiotic resources they want their students to learn to master?
    2. To what extent do these physics lecturers say that they themselves take responsibility for the development of this disciplinary literacy in their students?

    Data Collection

    The data set used for this presentation is taken from a comparative research project where 30 university physics lecturers from a total of nine universities in Sweden (4) and South Africa (5) described the disciplinary literacy goals they have for their students (Airey, 2012, 2013; Linder et al, 2014). A disciplinary literacy discussion matrix (Airey, 2011b) was used as the basis for in-depth, semi-structured interviews.

    These were conducted in English and lasted approximately 60 minutes each. In the interviews the lecturers were encouraged to talk about the semiotic resources they think their students need to learn to control.

    Analysis

    The analysis drew on ideas from the phenomenographic research tradition by treating the interview transcripts as a single data set or “pool of meaning” (Marton & Booth, 1997: 133). The aim was to understand the expressed disciplinary literacy goals of the physics lecturers interviewed. Following the approach to qualitative data analysis advocated by Bogdan and Biklen (1992), iterative cycles were made through the data looking for patterns and key statements. Each cycle resulted in loosely labeled categories that were often split up, renamed or amalgamated in the next iteration. More background and details of the approach used can be found in Airey (2012).

    Results and Discussion

    Analysis of the 30 interviews resulted in the identification of four themes with respect to the lecturers’ disciplinary literacy goals:

    1. Teaching physics is not the same thing as developing students’ disciplinary literacy.

    All the lecturers expressed a strong commitment that physics is independent of the semiotic resources used to construct it. For them, developing disciplinary literacy and teaching physics were quite separate things.

    These are tools, physics is something else. Physics is more than the sum of these tools it’s the way physicists think about things—a shared reference of how to analyse things around you.

    This theme challenges contemporary thinking in education and linguistics. Halliday and Martin (1993, p. 9) for example insist that communicative practices are not some sort of passive reflection of a priori disciplinary knowledge, but rather are actively engaged in bringing knowledge into being. In science education, an even more radical stance has been taken by Wickman and Östman (2002), who insist that disciplinary learning itself should be viewed as a form of discourse change.

    1. Disciplinary literacy in a range of semiotic resources is necessary for learning physics.

    All the lecturers in the study felt it was desirable that students develop disciplinary literacy in a range of semiotic resources in order to cope with their studies. In many ways this finding is unremarkable, with a number of researchers having commented on the wide range of semiotic systems needed for appropriate knowledge construction and communication in physics (e.g. Airey, 2009; Lemke, 1998; McDermott, 1990; Parodi, 2012).

    1. Developing disciplinary literacy is not really the job of a physics teacher.

    All physics lecturers expressed frustration at the low levels of disciplinary literacy in their students, feeling that they really should not have to work with the development of these skills, e.g.:

    I cannot say that I test them or train them in English. Of course they can always come and ask me, but I don’t think that I take responsibility for training them in English

    Northedge (2002) holds that the role of a university lecturer should be one of a discourse guide leading “excursions” into disciplinary discourse. However, although some lecturers actually did in fact work in this way (see category 4) the none of physics lecturers interviewed in this study felt comfortable with this role.

    1. Some teachers were prepared to take responsibility for the development of certain aspects of students’ disciplinary literacy.

    Nonetheless, some physics lecturers did say that the development of students’ disciplinary literacy would be something that they would work with. In these cases, lecturers (somewhat grudgingly) took on Northedge’s (2002) role of a discourse guide. This position was most common for mathematics, which was seen as essential for an understanding of physics (see Airey, 2012. p. 75 for further discussion of this theme).

    To be able to express it in a precise enough way you need mathematics. Language is more limited than mathematics in this case. So they need to use mathematics to see physics rather than language.

     

    Conclusion

    In this presentation we have applied the concept of disciplinary literacy to the goals of university physics lecturers. Lecturers reported their belief that disciplinary literacy in a wide range of semiotic resources is a necessary condition for physics learning. However, the same lecturers do not feel the development of this disciplinary literacy is their job. Although some lecturers were prepared to help students develop specific aspects of disciplinary literacy, all the lecturers interviewed believed that teaching physics is something that is separate from teaching disciplinary literacy. Here, Airey has argued that:

    Until lecturers see their role as one of socialising students into the discourse of their discipline…[they] will continue to insist that they are not [teachers of disciplinary literacy] and that this should be a job for someone else.                                                                                                                        (Airey, 2011b, p. 50)

    References

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala, Sweden.: http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A173193&dswid=-4725.

    Airey, J. (2011a). The Disciplinary Literacy Discussion Matrix: A Heuristic Tool for Initiating Collaboration in Higher Education. Across the disciplines, 8(3), unpaginated.

    Airey, J. (2011b). Initiating Collaboration in Higher Education: Disciplinary Literacy and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Dynamic content and language collaboration in higher education: theory, research, and reflections (pp. 57-65). Cape Town, South Africa: Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

    Airey, J. (2012). “I don’t teach language.” The linguistic attitudes of physics lecturers in Sweden. AILA Review, 25(2012), 64–79.

    Airey, J. (2013). Disciplinary Literacy. In E. Lundqvist, L. Östman, & R. Säljö (Eds.), Scientific literacy – teori och praktik (pp. 41-58): Gleerups.

    Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. R. (1992). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods. (2 ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

    Gee, J. P. (1991). What is literacy? In C. Mitchell & K. Weiler (Eds.), Rewriting literacy: Culture and the discourse of the other (pp. 3-11). New York: Bergin & Garvey.

    Halliday, M. A. K., & Martin, J. R. (1993). Writing science: Literacy and discursive power. London: The Falmer Press.

    Lemke, J. L. (1998). Teaching all the languages of science: Words, symbols, images, and actions. http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/education/jlemke/papers/barcelon.htm.

    Linder, A., Airey, J., Mayaba, N., & Webb, P. (2014). Fostering Disciplinary Literacy? South African Physics Lecturers’ Educational Responses to their Students’ Lack of Representational Competence. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 18(3), 242-252. doi:10.1080/10288457.2014.953294

    Marton, F., & Booth, S. (1997). Learning and awareness. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    McDermott, L. (1990). A view from physics. In M. Gardner, J. G. Greeno, F. Reif, A. H. Schoenfeld, A. A. diSessa, & E. Stage (Eds.), Toward a scientific practice of science education (pp. 3-30). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Moje, E. B. (2007). Developing Socially Just Subject-Matter Instruction: A Review of the Literature on Disciplinary Literacy Teaching. Review of Research in Education 31 (March 2007), 1–44.

    Northedge, A. (2002). Organizing excursions into specialist discourse communities: A sociocultural account of university teaching. In G. Wells & G. Claxton (Eds.), Learning for life in the 21st century. Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education (pp. 252-264). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    Parodi, G. (2012) University Genres and Multisemiotic Features: Accessing Specialized Knowledge Through Disciplinarity. Fórum Linguístico. 9:4, 259-282.

    Wickman, P.-O., & Östman, L. (2002). Learning as discourse change: A sociocultural mechanism. Science Education, 86(5), 601-623.

  • 126.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Larsson, Johanna
    Linder, Anne
    Investigating Undergraduate Physics Lecturers’ Disciplinary Literacy Goals For Their Students2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this presentation we use the concept of disciplinary literacy (Airey, 2011a; 2013) to analyse the expressed learning goals of university physics lecturers for their students. We define disciplinary literacy in terms of learning to control a particular set of multimodal communicative practices. We believe it is important to document the expressed intentions of lecturers in this way, since it has previously been suggested that the development of such disciplinary literacy may be seen as one of the primary goals of university studies (Airey, 2011a).

    The main data set used in this presentation comes from a comparative study of 30 physics lecturers from Sweden and South Africa. (Airey, 2012, 2013; Linder et al, 2014). Semi-structured interviews were carried out using a disciplinary literacy discussion matrix (Airey, 2011b), which enabled us to probe the lecturers’ disciplinary literacy goals in the various semiotic resource systems used in undergraduate physics (e.g. graphs, diagrams, mathematics, spoken and written languages, etc.).

    The findings suggest that physics lecturers in both countries have strikingly similar disciplinary literacy goals for their students and hold similar beliefs about disciplinary semiotic resources. The lecturers also agree that teaching disciplinary literacy ought not to be their job. Here though, there were differences in whether the lecturers teach students to handle disciplinary-specific semiotic resources. These differences appear to be based on individual decisions, rather than being specific to a particular country or institution.

  • 127.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Anne
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Mayaba, Nokhanyo
    Webb, Paul
    Dealing with Contemporary Challenges in University Education: Response Strategies of South African Physics Lecturers to Students’ Lack of Representational Competence2013Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Recently, both South Africa and the United States have undertaken reviews of the physics education being offered in their respective countries in higher education institutions (CHE-SAIP report, 2013; NRC report, 2013). These reviews came about as a consequence of concerns that have arisen regarding the appropriateness of curricula and the quality of the education that is currently being offered by our universities.

    In the light of these two reviews what becomes critical is how physics departments, specifically individual physics lecturers, adapt their teaching practices in response to the competencies of their students.

    Many studies have shown that in order for meaningful learning to occur in university science subjects such as physics, lecturers need to give more consideration to challenges that arise from the different communication forms such as written and oral language, diagrams, graphs, mathematics, apparatus, laboratory routines, etc. that are typical to the educational environment.

    This seminar will discuss results arising from a set of comprehensive interviews undertaken with physics lecturers from South Africa and Sweden in relation to how they deal with these challenges, which we are calling challenges of representational competence. The aim of this presentation is to contribute to a better understanding of how the development of representational competence in physics students is currently being faced and to open a discussion about appropriateness and quality in the teaching and learning of university physics.

    Funding from the Swedish National Research Council and the South African National Research Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.

    References

    Aberg-Bengtsson, L., & Ottosson, T. (2006). What lies behind graphicacy? Relating students' results on a test of graphically represented quantitative information to formal academic achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(1), 43-62.

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Airey, J. (2011a). The Disciplinary Literacy Discussion Matrix: A Heuristic Tool for Initiating Collaboration in Higher Education. Across the disciplines, 8(3).

    Airey, J. (2011b). Talking about Teaching in English. Swedish university lecturers' experiences of changing their teaching language. Ibérica, 22(Fall), 35-54.

    Airey, J. (2012). “I don’t teach language.” The linguistic attitudes of physics lecturers in Sweden. AILA Review, 25(2012), 64–79.

    Airey, J. (2013). Disciplinary Literacy. In E. Lundqvist, L. Östman & R. Säljö (Eds.), Scientific literacy – teori och praktik (pp. 41-58): Gleerups.

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2006). Language and the experience of learning university physics in Sweden. European Journal of Physics, 27(3), 553-560.

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2008). Bilingual scientific literacy? The use of English in Swedish university science programmes. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 7(3), 145-161.

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical constellation of modes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2011). Bilingual scientific literacy. In C. Linder, L. Östman, D. Roberts, P.-O. Wickman, G. Ericksen & A. MacKinnon (Eds.), Exploring the landscape of scientific literacy (pp. 106-124). London: Routledge.

    American Association of Physics Teachers. (1996). Physics at the crossroads   Retrieved from http://www.aapt.org/Events/crossroads.cfm

    Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. R. (1992). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods. (2 ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

    Brookes, D. T. (2006). The role of language in learning physics. (PhD), Rutgers, New Brunswick, NJ.  

    Council on Higher Education and the South African Institute of Physics. (2013). Review of undergraduate physics education in public higher education institutions   Retrieved from http://www.saip.org.za/images/stories/documents/documents/Undergrad_Physics_Report_Final.pdf

    Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approache. Thousand Oaks, CA:: Sage.

    Crotty, M. (1989). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process. Sydney: :Allen & Unwin.

    Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E., & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science, 332(6031 ), 862-864.

    Domert, D., Airey, J., Linder, C., & Kung, R. (2007). An exploration of university physics students' epistemological mindsets towards the understanding of physics equations. NorDiNa, Nordic Studies in Science Education(3), 15-28.

    Dufresne, R., Gerace, W. J., & Leonard, W. (1997). Solving physics problems with multiple representations. The Physics Teacher, 35(5), 270-275.

    Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (in press). Who needs 3D when the Universe is flat? Science Education.

    European Commission Expert Group. (2007). Science education now: A renewed pedagogy for the future of Europe. Brussels: European Commission.

    Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

    Gilbert, J. K., & Treagust, D. F. (Eds.). (2009). Multiple Representations in Chemical Education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

    Johannsen, B. F. (2007). Attrition in university physics. A narrative study of individuals reacting to a collectivist environment. (Licentiate thesis), Uppsala University, Uppsala.  

    Kohl, P. B., & Finkelstein, N. D. (2008). Patterns of multiple representation use by experts and novices during physics problem solving. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 4(010111), 1-13.

    Kohl, P. B., Rosengrant, D., & Finkelstein, N. D. (2007). Strongly and weakly directed approaches to teaching multiple representation use in physics. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 3(010108), 10.

    Lemke, J. L. (1998). Teaching all the languages of science: Words, symbols, images, and actions   Retrieved from http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/education/jlemke/papers/barcelon.htm

    Meltzer, D. E. (2005). Relation between students' problem-solving performance and representational format. American Journal of Physics, 73(5), 463-478.

    National Research Council. (2013). Adapting to a Changing World --- Challenges and Opportunities in Undergraduate Physics Education. Committee on Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation. Board on Physics and Astronomy Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

    Northedge, A. (2002). Organizing excursions into specialist discourse communities: A sociocultural account of university teaching. In G. Wells & G. Claxton (Eds.), Learning for life in the 21st century. Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education (pp. 252-264). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    O’Connor, M. K., Netting, F. E., & Thomas, M. L. (2008). Grounded theory: Managing the challenge for those facing institutional review board oversight. Qualitative Inquiry, 14(1), 28-45.

    Ragout De Lozano, S., & Cardenas, M. (2002). Some Learning Problems Concerning the Use of Symbolic Language in Physics. Science and Education, 11(6), 589-599.

    Rosengrant, D., Etkina, E., & van Heuvelen, A. (2007). An overview of recent research on multiple representations. American Institute of Physics Conference proceedings January 30 2007, 883, 149-152.

    Rosengrant, D., van Heuvelen, A., & Etkina, E. (2009). Do students use and understand free-body diagrams? Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research, 5(1:010108).

    Scherr, R. E. (2008). Gesture analysis for physics education researchers. Physical Review. Special Topics: Physics Education Research, 4(010101), 1-9.

    Seymour, E., & Hewitt, N. (1997). Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Sherin, B. L. (2001). How students understand physics equations. Cognitive Instruction, 19, 479-541.

    Tang, K.-S., Tan, S. C., & Yeo, J. (2011). Students' multimodal construction of the work-energy concept. International Journal of Science Education, 33(13), 1775-1804.

    Treagust, D. F., Tsui, C.-Y., & (Eds.). (Eds.). (2013). Multiple representations in biological education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

    Tytler, R., Prain, V., Hubber, P., & Waldrip, B. (Eds.). (2013). Constructing Representations to Learn in Science. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

    van Heuvelen, A. (1991). Learning to think like a physicist: A review of research-based instructional strategies. American Journal of Physics, 59(10), 891-897.

    van Heuvelen, A., & Zou, X. (2001). Multiple representations of workenergy processes. American Journal of Physics, 69(2), 184-194.

    van Someren, M., Reimann, P., Boshuizen, H. P. A., & de Jong, T. (Eds.). (1998). Learning with multiple representations. Amsterdam: Pergamon.

  • 128.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. Uppsala University.
    Linder, Anne
    Uppsala University.
    Mayaba, Nokhanyo
    Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa.
    Webb, Paul
    Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa.
    Problematising Disciplinary Literacy in a Multilingual Society: The Case of University Physics in South Africa2013In: 21st Annual Conference of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa, 14 - 17 January, 2013, 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Over a decade has passed since Northedge (2002) convincingly argued that the role of the university lecturer should be viewed as one of leading students on excursions into the specialist discourse of their field. In his view, disciplinary discourses have come into being in order to create and share disciplinary knowledge that could not otherwise be appropriately construed in everyday discourse. Thus, Northedge’s conclusion is that in order for disciplinary learning to occur, students will need explicit guidance in accessing and using the specialist discourse of their chosen field. Building on this work, Airey (in press) argues that all university lecturers are, at least to some extent, teachers of language—even in monolingual settings. A radical approach to this claim has been suggested by Wickman and Östman (2002) who insist that learning itself be treated as a form of discourse change.

    In an attempt to operationalise Wickman and Östman’s assertion, Airey (2011b) suggests that the goals of any undergraduate degree programme may be framed in terms of the development of disciplinary literacy. Here, disciplinary literacy is defined as the ability to appropriately participate in the communicative practices of a discipline. Further, in his subsequent work, Airey (2011a) claims that all disciplines attempt to meet the needs of three specific sites: the academy, the workplace and society. He argues that the relative emphasis placed on teaching for these three sites will be different from discipline to discipline and will indeed vary within a discipline depending on the setting. In the South African setting two questions arise from this assertion. The first is: For any given discipline, what particular balance between teaching for the academy, the workplace and society is desirable and/or practicable? The second question follows on from the first: Having pragmatically decided on the teaching balance between the academy, workplace and society, what consequences does the decision have for the language(s) that lecturers should be helping their students to interpret and use? In order to address these two questions we conducted an interview-based case study of the disciplinary literacy goals of South African university lecturers in one particular discipline (physics). Thus, our overarching research question is as follows: How do South African physics lecturers problematise the development of disciplinary literacy in their students?

    The data collected forms part of a larger international comparative study of the disciplinary literacy goals of physics lecturers in Sweden and South Africa. A disciplinary literacy discussion matrix (Airey, 2011a) was employed as the starting point for conducting in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 physics lecturers from five South African universities. The choice of these five universities was purposeful—their student cohorts encompassing a range of different first languages and cultural backgrounds. The interviews were conducted in English, lasted between 30 and 60 minutes, and were later transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were then analysed qualitatively. This involved “working with data, organizing it, breaking it into manageable units, synthesizing it, searching for patterns, discovering what is important and what is to be learned, and deciding what you will tell others” (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992:145).

    The main finding of this study is that all the lecturers mentioned language as being problematic in some way. However, there were a number of important differences in the ways the lecturers problematise the development of disciplinary literacy both across and within the different university physics departments. These differences can be seen to involve on the one hand, the lecturers’ own self-image in terms of whether they are comfortable with viewing themselves as language teachers/literacy developers, and on the other hand, their recognition of the diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds of their students. The differences will be illustrated and discussed using transcript excerpts. These findings are in contrast to parallel data collected in Sweden. In that particular (bilingual) setting, language was viewed as unproblematic, and the most striking characteristic was the very similarity of the responses of physics lecturers (Airey, in press). It is thus suggested that the differences in findings between Sweden and South Africa are a product of the latter’s diverse multilingual and multicultural environment. One pedagogical conclusion is that, given the differences in approach we find, inter- and intra faculty discussions about undergraduate disciplinary literacy goals would appear to have the distinct potential for reforming undergraduate physics. Similarly, an administrative conclusion is that a one-size-fits-all language policy for universities does not appear to be meaningful in such a diverse multilingual/multicultural environment.

    Finally, it should be mentioned that our choice of physics as an exemplar in this study has important implications for the interpretation of the findings. Drawing on Bernstein (1999), Martin (2011) suggests that disciplines have predominantly horizontal or hierarchical knowledge structures. Here it is claimed that physics has the most hierarchical knowledge structure of all disciplines. Thus, the findings presented here should be taken as illustrative of the situation in disciplines with more hierarchical knowledge structures (such as the natural and applied sciences). Kuteeva and Airey (in review) find that the issue of the language of instruction in such disciplines is viewed as much less problematic than in disciplines with more horizontal knowledge structures (such as the arts, humanities and, to some extent, social sciences). See Bennett (2010) for a provocative discussion of language use in such disciplines.

  • 129.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Anne
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Mayaba, Nokhanyo
    Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
    Webb, Paul
    Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
    Problematising Disciplinary Literacy in a Multilingual Society: The Case of University Physics in South Africa.2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Problematising Disciplinary Literacy in a Multilingual Society:The Case of University Physics in South Africa

     

    John Airey1,3 Anne Linder1, Nokhanyo Mayaba 2 & Paul Webb2

    1 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Sweden.

    2 Centre for Educational Research, Technology and Innovation, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa.

    3 School of Languages and Literature, Linnæus University, Sweden

    john.airey@physics.uu.se, anne.linder@physics.uu.se, nokhanyo.mayaba@nmmu.ac.za, paul.webb@nmmu.ac.za

    Abstract

    Over a decade has passed since Northedge (2002) convincingly argued that the role of the university lecturer should be viewed as one of leading students on excursions into the specialist discourse of their field. In his view, disciplinary discourses have come into being in order to create and share disciplinary knowledge that could not otherwise be appropriately construed in everyday discourse. Thus, Northedge’s conclusion is that in order for disciplinary learning to occur, students will need explicit guidance in accessing and using the specialist discourse of their chosen field. Building on this work, Airey (in press) argues that all university lecturers are, at least to some extent, teachers of language—even in monolingual settings. A radical approach to this claim has been suggested by Wickman and Östman (2002) who insist that learning itself be treated as a form of discourse change.

    In an attempt to operationalise Wickman and Östman’s assertion, Airey (2011b) suggests that the goals of any undergraduate degree programme may be framed in terms of the development of disciplinary literacy. Here, disciplinary literacy is defined as the ability to appropriately participate in the communicative practices of a discipline. Further, in his subsequent work, Airey (2011a) claims that all disciplines attempt to meet the needs of three specific sites: the academy, the workplace and society. He argues that the relative emphasis placed on teaching for these three sites will be different from discipline to discipline and will indeed vary within a discipline depending on the setting. In the South African setting two questions arise from this assertion. The first is: For any given discipline, what particular balance between teaching for the academy, the workplace and society is desirable and/or practicable? The second question follows on from the first: Having pragmatically decided on the teaching balance between the academy, workplace and society, what consequences does the decision have for the language(s) that lecturers should be helping their students to interpret and use? In order to address these two questions we conducted an interview-based case study of the disciplinary literacy goals of South African university lecturers in one particular discipline (physics). Thus, our overarching research question is as follows: How do South African physics lecturers problematise the development of disciplinary literacy in their students?

    The data collected forms part of a larger international comparative study of the disciplinary literacy goals of physics lecturers in Sweden and South Africa. A disciplinary literacy discussion matrix (Airey, 2011a) was employed as the starting point for conducting in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 physics lecturers from five South African universities. The choice of these five universities was purposeful—their student cohorts encompassing a range of different first languages and cultural backgrounds. The interviews were conducted in English, lasted between 30 and 60 minutes, and were later transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were then analysed qualitatively. This involved “working with data, organizing it, breaking it into manageable units, synthesizing it, searching for patterns, discovering what is important and what is to be learned, and deciding what you will tell others” (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992:145).

    The main finding of this study is that all the lecturers mentioned language as being problematic in some way. However, there were a number of important differences in the ways the lecturers problematise the development of disciplinary literacy both across and within the different university physics departments. These differences can be seen to involve on the one hand, the lecturers’ own self-image in terms of whether they are comfortable with viewing themselves as language teachers/literacy developers, and on the other hand, their recognition of the diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds of their students. The differences will be illustrated and discussed using transcript excerpts. These findings are in contrast to parallel data collected in Sweden. In that particular (bilingual) setting, language was viewed as unproblematic, and the most striking characteristic was the very similarity of the responses of physics lecturers (Airey, in press). It is thus suggested that the differences in findings between Sweden and South Africa are a product of the latter’s diverse multilingual and multicultural environment. One pedagogical conclusion is that, given the differences in approach we find, inter- and intra faculty discussions about undergraduate disciplinary literacy goals would appear to have the distinct potential for reforming undergraduate physics. Similarly, an administrative conclusion is that a one-size-fits-all language policy for universities does not appear to be meaningful in such a diverse multilingual/multicultural environment.

    Finally, it should be mentioned that our choice of physics as an exemplar in this study has important implications for the interpretation of the findings. Drawing on Bernstein (1999), Martin (2011) suggests that disciplines have predominantly horizontal or hierarchical knowledge structures. Here it is claimed that physics has the most hierarchical knowledge structure of all disciplines. Thus, the findings presented here should be taken as illustrative of the situation in disciplines with more hierarchical knowledge structures (such as the natural and applied sciences). Kuteeva and Airey (in review) find that the issue of the language of instruction in such disciplines is viewed as much less problematic than in disciplines with more horizontal knowledge structures (such as the arts, humanities and, to some extent, social sciences). See Bennett (2010) for a provocative discussion of language use in such disciplines.

    Funding from the Swedish National Research Council and the South African National Research Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.

    References:

    Airey, J. (2011a). The Disciplinary Literacy Discussion Matrix: A Heuristic Tool for Initiating Collaboration in Higher Education. Across the disciplines, 8(3).

    Airey, J. (2011b). Initiating Collaboration in Higher Education: Disciplinary Literacy and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Dynamic content and language collaboration in higher education: theory, research, and reflections (pp. 57-65). Cape Town, South Africa: Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

    Airey, J. (in press). I Don’t Teach Language. The Linguistic Attitudes of Physics Lecturers in Sweden. AILA Review, 25(2012), xx-xx.

    Bennett, K. (2010). Academic discourse in Portugal: A whole different ballgame? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 9(1), 21-32.

    Bernstein, M. (1999). Vertical and horizontal discourse: An essay. British Journal of Sociology Education, 20(2), 157-173.

    Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. R. (1992). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods. (2 ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

    Kuteeva, M., & Airey, J. (in review). Disciplinary Differences in the Use of English in Swedish Higher Education: Reflections on Recent Policy Developments  Studies in Higher Education.

    Martin, J. R. (2011). Bridging troubled waters: Interdisciplinarity and what makes it stick. In F. Christie & K. Maton (Eds.), Disciplinarity (pp. 35-61). London: Continuum International Publishing.

    Northedge, A. (2002). Organizing excursions into specialist discourse communities: A sociocultural account of university teaching. In G. Wells & G. Claxton (Eds.), Learning for life in the 21st century. Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education (pp. 252-264). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    Wickman, P.-O., & Östman, L. (2002). Learning as discourse change: A sociocultural mechanism. Science Education, 86(5), 601-623.

     

  • 130.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Bilingual Scientific Literacy2011In: Exploring the Landscape of Scientific Literacy / [ed] Cedric Linder, Leif Östman, Douglas Roberts, Per-Olof Wickman, Gaalen Erickson, Allan MacKinnon, New York: Routledge , 2011, p. 106-124Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 131.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy. Kalmar University College.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Materials Science, Physics Didactics.
    Bilingual Scientific Literacy?: The Use of English in Swedish University Science Courses2008In: Nordic Journal of English Studies, ISSN 1654-6970, E-ISSN 1654-6970, Vol. 7, no 3, p. 145-161Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A direct consequence of the Bologna declaration on harmonisation of Europeaneducation has been an increase in the number of courses taught in English at Swedishuniversities. A worrying aspect of this development is the lack of research into the effectson disciplinary learning that may be related to changing the teaching language to Englishin this way. In fact, little is known at all about the complex inter-relationship betweenlanguage and learning. In this article we attempt to map out the types of parameters thatour research indicates would determine an appropriate language mix in one section ofSwedish higher education—natural science degree courses. We do this from theperspective of the overall goal of science education, which we suggest is the productionof scientifically literate graduates. Here we introduce a new term, bilingual scientificliteracy to describe the particular set of language-specific science skills that we hope tofoster within a given degree course. As an illustration of our constructs, we carry out asimple language audit of thirty Swedish undergraduate physics syllabuses, listing thetypes of input provided for students and the types of production expected from students inboth languages. We use this information to map out an ‘implied student’ for the courseswith respect to bilingual scientific literacy. The article finishes by identifying issues forfurther research in this area.

  • 132.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics, Physics Didactics. Department of Human Sciences, University of Kalmar.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics, Physics Didactics. Department of Physics, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa..
    Disciplinary learning in a second language: A case study from university physics2007In: Researching Content and Language Integration in Higher Education / [ed] Wilkinson, Robert and Zegers, Vera, Maastricht: Maastricht University Language Centre , 2007, p. 161-171Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There is a popular movement within Swedish universities and university colleges towards delivery of courses and degree programmes through the medium of English. This is particularly true in natural science, engineering and medicine where such teaching has been commonplace for some time. However, the rationale for using English as the language of instruction appears to be more a pragmatic response to outside pressures rather than a conscious educational decision. This situation has recently been challenged with the publication of the report of the Parliamentary Committee for the Swedish Language, Mål i Mun, which discusses the effects of so called domain losses to English.

     

    This paper gives an overview of the continuing debate surrounding teaching through the medium of English, and examines some of the research carried out in this area. In contrast to the wealth of studies carried out in the pre-university school world, very few studies have been identified at university level. One conclusion is that little appears to be known about what goes on when Swedish university students are taught in English by Swedish lecturers. The paper concludes by suggesting a number of research questions that need to be addressed in order to better understand this area. This paper will be of interest to anyone who teaches, or plans to teach, university subjects through the medium of English.

  • 133.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics, Physics Didactics.
    Language and the Experience of Learning University Physics in Sweden2006In: European journal of physics, ISSN 0143-0807, E-ISSN 1361-6404, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 553-560Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This qualitative study explores the relationship between the lecturing language (English or Swedish) and the related learning experiences of 22 undergraduate physics students at two Swedish universities. Students attended lectures in both English and Swedish as part of their regular undergraduate programme. These lectures were videotaped and students were then interviewed about their learning experiences using selected excerpts of the video in a process of stimulated recall. The study finds that although the students initially report no difference in their experience of learning physics when taught in Swedish or English, there are in fact some important differences which become apparent during stimulated recall. The pedagogical implications of these differences are discussed.

  • 134.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. Uppsala University.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University.
    Social semiotics in university physics education: Leveraging critical constellations of disciplinary representations2015In: Science Education Research: Engaging learners for a sustainable future / [ed] Jari Lavonen, Kalle Juuti, Jarkko Lampiselkä, Anna Uitto, Kaisa Hahl, European Science Education Research Association , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social semiotics is a broad construct where all communication is viewed as being realized through signs and their signification. In physics education we usually refer to these signs as disciplinary representations. These disciplinary representations are the semiotic resources used in physics communication, such as written and oral languages, diagrams, graphs, mathematics, apparatus and simulations. This alternative depiction of representations is used to build theory with respect to the construction and sharing of disciplinary knowledge in the teaching and learning of university physics. Based on empirical studies of physics students cooperating to explain the refraction of light, a number of theoretical constructs were developed. In this presentation we describe these constructs and examine their usefulness for problematizing teaching and learning in university physics. The theoretical constructs are: fluency in semiotic resources, disciplinary affordance and critical constellations.

    The conclusion formulates a proposal that has these constructs provide university physics teachers with a new set of meaningfully and practical tools, which will enable them to re-conceptualize their practice in ways that have the distinct potential to optimally enhance student learning.

  • 135.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Social semiotics in university physics education: Leveraging critical constellations of disciplinary representations2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social semiotics is a broad construct where all communication is viewed as being realized through signs and their signification. In physics education we usually refer to these signs as disciplinary representations. These disciplinary representations are the semiotic resources used in physics communication, such as written and oral languages, diagrams, graphs, mathematics, apparatus and simulations. This alternative depiction of representations is used to build theory with respect to the construction and sharing of disciplinary knowledge in the teaching and learning of university physics. Based on empirical studies of physics students cooperating to explain the refraction of light, a number of theoretical constructs were developed. In this presentation we describe these constructs and examine their usefulness for problematizing teaching and learning in university physics. The theoretical constructs are: fluency in semiotic resources, disciplinary affordance and critical constellations.

    The conclusion formulates a proposal that has these constructs provide university physics teachers with a new set of meaningfully and practical tools, which will enable them to re-conceptualize their practice in ways that have the distinct potential to optimally enhance student learning.

     

     

    Purpose

    This aim of this theoretical paper is to present representations as semiotic resources in order to make a case for three related constructs that we see as being central to learning with multiple representations in university physics; fluency in semiotic resources, disciplinary affordance and critical constellations. We suggest that an understanding of these constructs is a necessary part of a physics lecturer’s educational toolbox.

     

    Why semiotics?

    The construct of representations as it is presently used in science education can, in our opinion, be unintentionally limiting since it explicitly excludes important aspects such as physical objects, (e.g. physics apparatus) and actions (e.g. measuring a value). Clearly, such aspects play a central role in sharing physics meaning and they are explicitly included as semiotic resources in a social semiotic approach. Van Leeuwen (2005:1) explains the preference for the term semiotic resource instead of other terms such as representation claiming that “[…] it avoids the impression that what a [representation] stands for is somehow pre-given, and not affected by its use”. Thus, the term semiotic resource encompasses other channels of meaning making, as well as everything that is generally termed external representations (Ainsworth, 2006).

     

    Why social semiotics?

    The reason for adopting social semiotics is that different groups develop their own systems of meaning making. This is often achieved either by the creation of new specialized semiotic resources or by assigning specific specialized meaning to more general semiotic resources. Nowhere is this more salient than in physics where the discipline draws on a wide variety of specialized resources in order to share physics knowledge. In our work in undergraduate physics education we have introduced three separate constructs that we believe are important for learning in physics: fluency in semiotic resources, disciplinary affordance and critical constellations.

     

    Fluency in semiotic resources

    The relationship between learning and representations has received much attention in the literature. The focus has often been how students can achieve “representational competence” (For a recent example see Linder et al 2014). In this respect, different semiotic resources have been investigated, including mathematics, graphs, gestures, diagrams and language. Considering just one of these resources, spoken language, it is clear that in order to share meaning using this resource one first needs to attain some sort of fluency in the language in question. We have argued by extension that the same holds for all the semiotic resources that we use in physics (Airey & Linder, 2009). It is impossible to make meaning with a disciplinary semiotic resource without first becoming fluent in its use. By fluency we mean a process through which handling a particular semiotic resource with respect to a given piece of physics content becomes unproblematic, almost second-nature. Thus, in our social semiotic characterization, if a person is said to be fluent in a particular semiotic resource, then they have come to understand the ways in which the discipline generally uses that resource to share physics knowledge. Clearly, such fluency is educationally critical for understanding the ways that students learn to combine semiotic resources, which is the interest of this symposium. However, there is more to learning physics than achieving fluency. For example:

     

    MIT undergraduates, when asked to comment about their high school physics, almost universally declared they could “solve all the problems” (and essentially all had received A's) but still felt they “really didn't understand at all what was going on”. diSessa (1993, p. 152)

     

    Clearly, these students had acquired excellent fluency in disciplinary semiotic resources, yet still lacked a qualitative conceptual understanding.

     

    The disciplinary affordance of semiotic resources

    Thus, we argue that becoming fluent in the use of a particular semiotic resource, though necessary, is not sufficient for an appropriate physics understanding. For an appropriate understanding we argue that students need to come to appreciate the disciplinary affordance of the semiotic resource (Fredlund, Airey, & Linder, 2012; Fredlund, Linder, Airey, & Linder, 2015). We define disciplinary affordance as the potential of a given semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge. Thus we argue that combining fluency with an appreciation of the disciplinary affordance of a given semiotic resource leads to appropriate disciplinary meaning making. However, in practice the majority of physics phenomena cannot be adequately represented by one a single semiotic resource. This leads us to the theme of this symposium—the combination of multiple representations.

     

    Critical constellations – the significance of this work for the symposium theme

    The significance of the social semiotic approach we have outlined for work on multiple representations lies in the concept of critical constellations.

    Building on the work of Airey & Linder (2009), Airey (2009) suggests there is a critical constellation of disciplinary semiotic resources that are necessary for appropriate holistic experience of any given disciplinary concept. Using our earlier constructs we can see that students will first need to become fluent in each of the semiotic resources that make up this critical constellation. Next, they need to come to appreciate the disciplinary affordance of each separate semiotic resource. Then, finally, they can attempt to grasp the concept in an appropriate, disciplinary manner. In this respect, Linder (2013) suggests that disciplinary learning entails coming to appreciate the collective disciplinary affordance of a critical constellation of semiotic resources.

     

    Recommendations

    There are a number of consequences of this work for the teaching and learning of physics. First, we claim that teachers need to provide opportunities for their students to achieve fluency in a range of semiotic resources. Next teachers need to know more about the disciplinary affordances of the individual semiotic resources they use in their teaching (see Fredlund et al 2012 for a good example of this type of work).

    Finally, teachers need to contemplate which critical constellations of semiotic resources are necessary for making which physics knowledge available to their students. In this respect physics teachers need to appreciate that knowing their students as learners includes having a deep appreciation of the kinds of critical constellations that their particular students need in order to effectively learn physics

     

    References

    Ainsworth, S. (2006). DeFT: A conceptual framework for considering learning with multiple representations. Learning and Instruction, 16(3), 183-198.

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A173193&dswid=-4725

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical constellation of modes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

    diSessa, A. A. (1993). Toward an Epistemology of Physics. Cognition and Instruction, 10(2 & 3), 105-225.

    Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

    Fredlund, T., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Linder, A. (2015). Unpacking physics representations: towards an appreciation of disciplinary affordance. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 10( 020128 (2014)).

    Linder, A., Airey, J., Mayaba, N., & Webb, P. (2014). Fostering Disciplinary Literacy? South African Physics Lecturers’ Educational Responses to their Students’ Lack of Representational Competence. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 18(3). doi: 10.1080/10288457.2014.953294

    Linder, C. (2013). Disciplinary discourse, representation, and appresentation in the teaching and learning of science. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 43-49.

    van leeuwen, T. (2005). Introducing social semiotics. London: Routledge.

     

  • 136.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. School of Languages and Literature, Linnæus University, Sweden.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Teaching and Learning in University Physics: A Social Semiotic Approach2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social semiotics is a broad construct where all communication is viewed as being realized through semiotic resources. In undergraduate physics we use a wide range of these semiotic resources, such as written and oral languages, diagrams, graphs, mathematics, apparatus and simulations. Based on empirical studies of undergraduate physics students a number of theoretical constructs have been developed in our research group (see for example Airey & Linder 2009; Fredlund et al 2012, 2014; Eriksson 2015). In this presentation we describe these constructs and examine their usefulness for problematizing teaching and learning in university physics. The theoretical constructs are: discursive fluency, discourse imitation, unpacking and critical constellations of semiotic resources.

    We suggest that these constructs provide university physics teachers with a new set of practical tools with which to view their own practice in order to enhance student 

    References

    Airey, J. (2006). Physics Students' Experiences of the Disciplinary Discourse Encountered in Lectures in English and Swedish.   Licentiate Thesis. Uppsala, Sweden: Department of Physics, Uppsala University.,

    Airey J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis   Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from   http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Airey, J. (2014) Representations in Undergraduate Physics. Docent lecture, Ångström Laboratory, 9th June 2014 From   http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-226598

    Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2015) Social Semiotics in Physics Education: Leveraging critical constellations of disciplinary representations   ESERA 2015 From http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn%3Anbn%3Ase%3Auu%3Adiva-260209

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). "A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical   constellation of modes." Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

    Airey, J. & Linder, C. (in press) Social Semiotics in Physics Education : Multiple Representations in Physics Education   Springer

    Airey, J., & Eriksson, U. (2014). A semiotic analysis of the disciplinary affordances of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in   astronomy. Paper presented at the The 5th International 360 conference: Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge,   Aarhus, Denmark.

    Airey, J., Eriksson, U., Fredlund, T., and Linder, C. (2014). "The concept of disciplinary affordance"The 5th International 360   conference: Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge. City: Aarhus University: Aarhus, Denmark, pp. 20.

    Eriksson, U. (2015) Reading the Sky: From Starspots to Spotting Stars Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.

    Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (2014). Who needs 3D when the Universe is flat? Science Education, 98(3),   412-442.

    Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (2014). Introducing the anatomy of disciplinary discernment: an example from   astronomy. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 2(3), 167‐182.

    Fredlund 2015 Using a Social Semiotic Perspective to Inform the Teaching and Learning of Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.

    Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students   sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

    Fredlund, T, Airey, J, & Linder, C. (2015a). Enhancing the possibilities for learning: Variation of disciplinary-relevant aspects in   physics representations. European Journal of Physics.

    Fredlund, T. & Linder, C., & Airey, J. (2015b). Towards addressing transient learning challenges in undergraduate physics: an   example from electrostatics. European Journal of Physics. 36 055002.

    Fredlund, T. & Linder, C., & Airey, J. (2015c). A social semiotic approach to identifying critical aspects. International Journal for   Lesson and Learning Studies 2015 4:3 , 302-316

    Fredlund, T., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Linder, A. (2014). Unpacking physics representations: Towards an appreciation of disciplinary   affordance. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 10(020128).

    Gibson, J. J. (1979). The theory of affordances The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (pp. 127-143). Boston: Houghton   Miffin.

    Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as a social semiotic. London: Arnold.

    Linder, C. (2013). Disciplinary discourse, representation, and appresentation in the teaching and learning of science. European   Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 43-49.

    Norman, D. A. (1988). The psychology of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

    Mavers, D. Glossary of multimodal terms  Retrieved 6 May, 2014, from http://multimodalityglossary.wordpress.com/affordance/

    van Leeuwen, T. (2005). Introducing social semiotics. London: Routledge.

    Wu, H-K, & Puntambekar, S. (2012). Pedagogical Affordances of Multiple External Representations in Scientific Processes. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21(6), 754-767.

  • 137.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University.
    Simpson, Zachary
    University of Johannesburg.
    Multimodal Science and Engineering Teaching: Perspectives from 8ICOM2018In: 9ICOM - Complete Book Of Abstracts, Odense, Denmark.: Syddansk Universitet, 2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Multimodal Science and Engineering Teaching: Perspectives from 8ICOM

    The previous international conference on multimodality – 8ICOM – featured two sessions devoted to multimodal, social semiotic approaches to science teaching and learning (c.f. Halliday1978; van Leeuwen 2005, Airey & Linder 2017). What the papers in these sessions shared was the argument that such perspectives on science, and science teaching, can, at least in part, respond to calls to ‘democratize’ science education by recognising diverse sets of semiotic resources and, in so doing, seeking to address impediments to equal participation (Burke et al., 2017). 

    The 8ICOM science sessions were particularly noteworthy given the backdrop against which 8ICOM had been organised. In the months leading up to the conference, South Africa (and Cape Town, in particular) had experienced campus unrest aimed at ‘decolonizing’ higher education in that country. As part of this movement, the phrase #ScienceMustFall briefly trended on social media. This emanated from the claim that ‘science’ is a western, colonial construct that needs to be dismantled and replaced with the teaching of indigenous, African knowledge. Although the #ScienceMustFall slogan has since departed from the wider public consciousness, the questions it raises nonetheless remain: why, and how, should science be taught?  Is science more than just a western colonial construction and, if so, why? And, what can the concept of multimodality offer by way of answering these questions? 

    In this paper, we offer an overview of the multimodal science papers presented in the two sessions at 8ICOM in the light of these questions. This is done with a view to assessing where the multimodality community finds itself regarding science education, and how it might address questions of the legitimacy of western science in the future. It is thus an attempt, as the conference theme suggests, to ‘move the theory forward’.      

    References

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. ActaUniversitatis  Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala, Sweden.:   http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A173193&dswid=-4725.

    Airey, J. (2012). “I don’t teach language.” The linguistic attitudes of physics lecturers in Sweden.AILAReview, 25(2012), 64–79.

    Bernstein, B. (1999). Vertical and horizontal discourse: An essay. British Journal of Sociology Education, 20(2), 157-173.

    Lindstrøm, C. (2011) Analysing Knowledge and Teaching Practices in Physics. Presentation 21 November 2011. Department of   Physicsand Astronomy Uppsala University, Sweden.

    Martin, J. R. (2011). Bridgingtroubled waters: Interdisciplinarityand what makes it stick, in F. Christie and K. Maton, (eds.),   Disciplinarity. London: Continuum International Publishing, pp. 35-61.

    Volkwyn, T., Airey, J., Gregorčič, B., & Heijkenskjöld, F. (in press). Learning Science through Transduction: Multimodal disciplinary   meaning-making in the physics laboratory. Designs for Learning.

  • 138.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Simpson, Zachary
    Multimodal Science and Engineering Teaching: Perspectives from 8ICOM2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The previous international conference on multimodality – 8ICOM – featured two sessions devoted to multimodal, social semiotic approaches to science teaching and learning (c.f. Halliday1978; van Leeuwen 2005, Airey & Linder 2017). What the papers in these sessions shared was the argument that such perspectives on science, and science teaching, can, at least in part, respond to calls to ‘democratize’ science education by recognising diverse sets of semiotic resources and, in so doing, seeking to address impediments to equal participation (Burke et al., 2017). 

    The 8ICOM science sessions were particularly noteworthy given the backdrop against which 8ICOM had been organised. In the months leading up to the conference, South Africa (and Cape Town, in particular) had experienced campus unrest aimed at ‘decolonizing’ higher education in that country. As part of this movement, the phrase #ScienceMustFall briefly trended on social media. This emanated from the claim that ‘science’ is a western, colonial construct that needs to be dismantled and replaced with the teaching of indigenous, African knowledge. Although the #ScienceMustFall slogan has since departed from the wider public consciousness, the questions it raises nonetheless remain: why, and how, should science be taught?  Is science more than just a western colonial construction and, if so, why? And, what can the concept of multimodality offer by way of answering these questions? 

    In this paper, we offer an overview of the multimodal science papers presented in the two sessions at 8ICOM in the light of these questions. This is done with a view to assessing where the multimodality community finds itself regarding science education, and how it might address questions of the legitimacy of western science in the future. It is thus an attempt, as the conference theme suggests, to ‘move the theory forward’.      

  • 139.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. Uppsala University.
    Urban, Eriksson
    Uppsala University ; Kristianstad University.
    A Semiotic Analysis of the Disciplinary Affordances of the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram in Astronomy2014In: The 5th International 360 Conference, Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge, May 8-10 2014, Aarhus University, Denmark, Aarhus: Aarhus University , 2014, p. 22-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the central characteristics of disciplines is that they create their own particular ways of knowing the world through their discourse (Airey & Linder 2009). This process is facilitated by the specialization and refinement of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the sciences, where it is the norm that disciplinary-specific representations have been introduced and then refined by a number of different actors (Airey 2009). As a consequence, many of the semiotic resources used in the sciences today still retain some traces of their historical roots. This makes the aquisition of disciplinary literacy (Airey, 2013) particularly problematic (see Eriksson et al. 2014 for an example from astronomy).

     In this paper we analyse one such disciplinary-specific semiotic resource from the field of Astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. We audit the potential of this semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge—what Fredlund et al (2012) have termed its disciplinary affordances. Our analysis includes consideration of the use of scales, labels, symbols, sizes and colour. We show how, for historical reasons, the use of these aspects in the resource may differ from what might be expected by a newcomer to the discipline.

    We suggest that some of the issues we highlight in our analysis may, in fact, be contributors to alternative conceptions and therefore propose that lecturers pay particular attention to the disambiguation of these features for their students.

  • 140.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Urban, Eriksson
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    A Semiotic Analysis of the Disciplinary Affordances of the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram in Astronomy.2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the central characteristics of disciplines is that they create their own particular ways of knowing the world through their discourse (Airey & Linder 2009). This process is facilitated by the specialization and refinement of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the sciences, where it is the norm that disciplinary-specific representations have been introduced and then refined by a number of different actors (Airey 2009). As a consequence, many of the semiotic resources used in the sciences today still retain some traces of their historical roots. This makes the aquisition of disciplinary literacy (Airey, 2013) particularly problematic (see Eriksson et al. 2014 for an example from astronomy).

     In this paper we analyse one such disciplinary-specific semiotic resource from the field of Astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. We audit the potential of this semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge—what Fredlund et al (2012) have termed its disciplinary affordances. Our analysis includes consideration of the use of scales, labels, symbols, sizes and colour. We show how, for historical reasons, the use of these aspects in the resource may differ from what might be expected by a newcomer to the discipline.

    We suggest that some of the issues we highlight in our analysis may, in fact, be contributors to alternative conceptions and therefore propose that lecturers pay particular attention to the disambiguation of these features for their students.

     

    References

    Airey, J. (2013). Disciplinary Literacy. In E. Lundqvist, L. Östman & R. Säljö (Eds.), Scientific literacy – teori och praktik (pp. 41-58): Gleerups.

    Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

    Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical constellation of modes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

    Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (2014). Who needs 3D when the Universe is flat? Science Education, 98(3), 412-442.

    Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

     

  • 141.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. Uppsala University.
    Urban, Eriksson
    Uppsala University ; Kristianstad University.
    What do you see here?: Using an analysis of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in astronomy to create a survey of disciplinary discernment.2014In: The first Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, Lund, Sweden, 25-27 Sept 2014, 2014, p. 52-53Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Becoming part of a discipline involves learning to interpret and use a range of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources (Airey, 2009). These resources have been developed and assigned particular specialist meanings over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the sciences, where it is the norm that disciplinary-specific representations have been introduced and then refined by a number of different actors in order to reconcile them with subsequent empirical and theoretical advances. As a consequence, many of the semiotic resources used in the sciences today still retain some (potentially confusing) traces of their historical roots. However, it has been repeatedly shown that university lecturers underestimate the challenges such disciplinary specific semiotic resources may present to undergraduates (Northedge, 2002; Tobias, 1986).

    In this paper we analyse one such disciplinary-specific semiotic resource from the field of Astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. First, we audit the potential of this semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge—what Fredlund et al (2012) have termed its disciplinary affordances. Our analysis includes consideration of the use of scales, labels, symbols, sizes and colour. We show how, for historical reasons, the use of these aspects in the resource may differ from what might be expected by a newcomer to the discipline. Using the results of our analysis we then created an online questionnaire to probe what is discerned (Eriksson, Linder, Airey, & Redfors, in press) with respect to each of these aspects by astronomers and physicists ranging from first year undergraduates to university professors.

    Our findings suggest that some of the issues we highlight in our analysis may, in fact, be contributors to the alternative conceptions of undergraduate students and we therefore propose that lecturers pay particular attention to the disambiguation of these features for their students.

  • 142.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Urban, Eriksson
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Högskolan i Kristianstad.
    What do you see here?: Using an analysis of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in astronomy to create a survey of disciplinary discernment.2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Becoming part of a discipline involves learning to interpret and use a range of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources (Airey, 2009). These resources have been developed and assigned particular specialist meanings over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the sciences, where it is the norm that disciplinary-specific representations have been introduced and then refined by a number of different actors in order to reconcile them with subsequent empirical and theoretical advances. As a consequence, many of the semiotic resources used in the sciences today still retain some (potentially confusing) traces of their historical roots. However, it has been repeatedly shown that university lecturers underestimate the challenges such disciplinary specific semiotic resources may present to undergraduates (Northedge, 2002; Tobias, 1986).

    In this paper we analyse one such disciplinary-specific semiotic resource from the field of Astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. First, we audit the potential of this semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge—what Fredlund et al (2012) have termed its disciplinary affordances. Our analysis includes consideration of the use of scales, labels, symbols, sizes and colour. We show how, for historical reasons, the use of these aspects in the resource may differ from what might be expected by a newcomer to the discipline. Using the results of our analysis we then created an online questionnaire to probe what is discerned (Eriksson, Linder, Airey, & Redfors, in press) with respect to each of these aspects by astronomers and physicists ranging from first year undergraduates to university professors.

    Our findings suggest that some of the issues we highlight in our analysis may, in fact, be contributors to the alternative conceptions of undergraduate students and we therefore propose that lecturers pay particular attention to the disambiguation of these features for their students.

  • 143.
    Ajdinovic, Dzejla
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics.
    Resonemang och problemlösning i Matematik 1b: En uppgiftsanalys av två läroböcker2018Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Studien undersökte möjligheten att utveckla problemlösnings- och resonemangsförmåga i svenska läroböcker. Under studiens gång genomfördes en läromedelsanalys av två läroböcker för gymnasiekursen Matematik 1b, Matematik 5000 och Matematik Origo. Analysen tog hänsyn till olika aspekter av förmågorna, olika svårighetsgrader på uppgifterna samt olika centralt innehåll i ämnesplanen. Av 2223 uppgifter i Matematik 5000 kunde problemlösningsförmågan utvecklas i 5% och resonemangsförmågan i 6%. Motsvarande andelar i 1747 uppgifter i Matematik Origo var 7% respektive 10%. Analysen visade också att större andel av uppgifterna på de två högre svårighetsnivåerna gav möjlighet att utveckla förmågorna än de på den lägsta nivån i båda böckerna. Det framkom även att inte alla aspekter av förmågorna fick lika stort utrymme att utvecklas. I båda böckerna var det geometri-kapitlet som fokuserade på dessa förmågor i störst andel av uppgifterna.

  • 144.
    Akhash, Natalia
    Halmstad University, School of Teacher Education (LUT).
    Vad gör en matematiklektion intressant?: En studie om gymnasieelevers intresse för ämnet matematik och en motivationsskapande lektion.2010Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Studiens syfte var att undersöka gymnasieelevernas intresse för ämnet matematik samt att urskilja det som är karakteristiskt för motivationsskapande lärande inom matematik och vad som gör en matematiklektion på gymnasiet givande och intressant. I grunden för arbetet ligger den sociokulturella lärandeteorin, teorier om motivation och intresse, samt vissa trender inom matematikundervisningen som behandlas i litteraturavsnittet.  I undersökningen användes en metodkombination: en kvantitativ studie i form av gruppenkät, som delades ut till elever som läser matematikkurser första och tredje året på två olika program på en gymnasieskola – det naturvetenskapliga och det samhällsinriktade samt en kvalitativ intervjustudie med fyra gymnasieelever.

      Resultatet av undersökningen visar att gymnasieelevernas intresse för ämnet matematik är kopplat till deras framtidsplaner samt graden av framgång och bra betyg i ämnet. Det finns även ett starkt positivt samband mellan intresset för ämnet och lusten inför matematiklektionen, undervisningstempot respektive lärarens inverkan. Faktorer som stimulerar elevernas intresse och som påverkar attityden till en matematiklektion är bundna till matematikundervisningens innehåll, dess aktualitet och variation, frågor om matematikundervisningens metoder och arbetssätt samt elevens individuella drag och påverkan. Dessa faktorer arbetar samtidigt och de flesta samverkar i en matematisk uppgiftslösning. En sådan uppgift är matematikundervisningens redskap och mål och den har flera didaktiska syften.  Bland annat formar den elevens syn på matematiken, det abstrakta och logiska tänkandet utvecklas, olika färdigheter utarbetas och den skapar motivation för att lära sig matematik. Huvudslutsatsen är att läraren har en viktig roll för utvecklingen av elevens intresse för ämnet matematik och kan göra en matematiklektion intressant för eleverna genom att framförallt noggrant välja de uppgifter eleverna arbetar med under en matematiklektion samt hur de arbetar med dessa uppgifter.

  • 145.
    Alanen Mäkinen, Sofie
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
    Lindvall, Wenke
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
    Musikämnets undervisningsförutsättningar: - en komparativ studie om ramfaktorers och artefakters påverkan på musikundervisningen2014Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Bakgrunden till denna studie grundar sig främst i ett stort intresse för musikämnet men även att vi, under vår grundskoletid fick uppleva olika bra samt värdefull musikundervisning. Denna studie syftade till att få inblick i hur lärare upplever ramfaktorer och artefakters påverkan på undervisningen i musik. Genom åtta stycken semistrukturerade kvalitativa intervjuer har vi kunnat besvara våra frågeställningar: Vilka ramfaktorer anser lärarna påverkar undervisningen i musik? Hur uppfattar lärare ramfaktorer som möjligheter och begränsningar i undervisningen? Vilka artefakter anser lärarna påverkar undervisningen och på vilket sätt? Finns det likheter och/eller skillnader mellan de två delstudierna? Vi har genom studiens gång fått inblick i hur lärare resonerar kring de påverkande faktorerna samt vilka möjligheter och begränsningar de kan ge undervisningen i musik. Vi fann att ramfaktorerna lokal samt gruppstorlek är sådana faktorer vilka påverkar undervisningen mest och negativt om lokalen inte är ändamålsenligt samt ifall elevantalet är för många i förhållande till lokalen. En stor elevgrupp tenderar att missgynna undervisningen i musik och därför är den mindre elevgruppen att föredra då den bland annat bidrar till mer individualisering. Tillgångarna till artefakter såsom instrument är en av de viktigaste komponenterna för musikundervisningen då en stor del av undervisningen handlar om att musicera likt Lgr 11 förespråkar starkt för. 

  • 146.
    Al-Asadi, Hind
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies.
    Speciallärares undervisning för elever i matematiksvårigheter på högstadiet2011Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 147.
    Alastair, Henry
    et al.
    Högskolan Väst.
    Sundqvist, Pia
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Center for Language and Literature in Education. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies.
    Korp, Helena
    Högskolan Väst.
    Elevers möten med engelska i och utanför skolan : Upprop till deltagande i forskningsprojektet Bridging the Gap2014In: LMS : Lingua, ISSN 0023-6330, no 4, p. 22-26Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 148.
    Alatalo, Tarja
    et al.
    Dalarna University.
    Meier, Joanna
    Dalarna University.
    Frank, Elisabeth
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Information Sharing on Children’s Literacy Learning in the Transition From Swedish Preschool to School2017In: Journal of Research in Childhood Education, ISSN 0256-8543, E-ISSN 2150-2641, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 240-254Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Collaboration and continuity between school types are important factors

    that favor long-term learning and that need to be given attention in the

    transition between early childhood school institutions. This study highlights

    teachers’ experiences of information sharing during the transition from

    Swedish preschool to preschool class (i.e., from the child care to school)

    with regard to children’s literacy learning. To find out and evaluate the

    individual child’s development, the child’s actual and proximal development

    zones needs to be taken into account in the transition. It appears that

    some preschool teachers wish to share information on children’s literacy

    learning, but it is mainly about the children’s interest in literacy activities.

    Also the preschool class teachers’ wishes to know more about the children’s

    literacy learning are too much on a general level to be able to provide a

    good enough basis for planning literacy activities that fit every individual

    child. A large part of the outcomes derives from the preschool tradition that

    has viewed care as being core to its work and considered learning and

    achievement as domains associated with compulsory school. This article

    discusses whether the training of teachers in early childhood education

    needs a stronger focus on literacy learning.

  • 149.
    Albarracín, Lluís
    et al.
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
    Bergman Ärlebäck, Jonas
    Linköping University, Department of Mathematics, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Civil, Elisabeth
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
    Gorgorió, Núria
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
    Extending Modelling Activity Diagrams as a tool to characterise mathematical modelling processes2019In: The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, ISSN 1551-3440, E-ISSN 1551-3440, Vol. 16, no 1-2, article id 10Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, we present a qualitative study in which we analyse the video-recordings of four groups of students solving Fermi Problems. Previous studies show that Secondary School students solve this type of problems using complex problem solving processes and developing mathematical models. In order to analyse the students’ problem solving processes, so-called Modelling Activity Diagrams were used. The results of the present study demonstrate that solving Fermi problems is a complex matter, and that some of the theoretical tools used in the field of Mathematical Education fail to adequately reflect this level of complexity. In addition, Modelling Activity Diagrams are presented as a more detailed analysis tool to characterise student choices and actions, as well as to make the structure of the Fermi problem addressed more visible.

  • 150.
    Albertsson, Hanna
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development.
    Läs- och skrivsvårigheter och matematiksvårigheter: En sambandsstudie gällande några specialpedagogers uppfattningar2010Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Syftet med studien är att utröna hur några verksamma specialpedagoger upplever ett eventuellt samband mellan läs- och skrivsvårigheter och matematiksvårigheter med fokus på hur detta eventuella samband kan yttra sig samt hur det går att underlätta i matematikämnet för elever med denna typ av problematik. För att finna ett resultat har kvalitativa intervjuer genomförts med fyra pedagoger som alla verkar inom det specialpedagogiska fältet. Resultatet visar att pedagogerna är splittrade i sina uppfattningar gällande omfattningen av samband men att alla pedagoger upplever ett visst mått av samband, vilket de anser kan ta sitt uttryck i matematikämnet främst i form av problem med problemlösning. Vidare är pedagogerna överens om att det går att underlätta för dessa elever med hjälp av konkreta/laborativa material, kompensatoriskt arbete samt genom att möta individen där denne befinner sig.

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